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Get set to grow at RHS Garden Wisley’s Family Gardening Festival

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Fun-packed event runs from 26 May to 3 June

To celebrate the start of the warmer months, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Wisley is hosting a fun-packed Family Gardening Festival, from 26 May to 3 June 2018.

Running during May half-term, the family event has a ‘Get Set, Grow!’ theme, with a wide variety of activities taking place throughout the week. Kids can get hands-on with garden themed activities and crafts, such as sow and grow workshops, potato and spoon races, face painting, and tree climbing. There will also be puppet shows, storytelling sessions, a ‘Vegetable Olympics’ and a ‘Mole Hill’ area with pedal-powered tractors. Additionally, fascinating Birds of Prey demonstrations will take place on Seven Acres at 11am and 2pm on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May.

As visitors walk around the Festival and take in the horticultural highlights of the season, they can gain expert advice from the RHS Science Team. Exhibitors include the National Vegetable Society and Surrey Bees, who will provide honey tastings, bee-themed activities and have a variety of wax products for sale.

While at the Family Gardening Festival, families can go on a garden adventure trail, sponsored by Honda, to look for the hidden Miimos - Honda’s clever robotic lawnmowers – along the way.

Take a break to refuel during the Festival with a tasty bite to eat, including ice cream and barbequed treats. There is also plenty of room to enjoy a family picnic in the great outdoors.

Normal garden entry applies; events and activities are suitable for all the family. For further information and to view the daily programme of activities, visit www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley.

City of London Wealth Management Awards

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National Garden Scheme (NGS) hPartridge Muir & Warren crowned family office of the year

This years’ City of London Wealth Management Awards local Esher based Chartered Financial Planner and Wealth Manager, Partridge Muir & Warren (PMW), with the prestigious title of Family Office of the Year.

The ceremony was conducted at the prestigious Guildhall in the heart of the City. Following their nomination, they faced fierce competition from larger businesses, notably Killick & Co and Hottinger, but the over-whelming support of their loyal clients carried them to victory. CEO, Simon Lewis, was there to collect the award, accompanied by CFO, Kellianne Banham, and Head of Marketing, Ceris Hymas.

Simon Lewis said “I am incredibly proud of my team right now, because it is their dedication and excellence that has inspired our loyal clients to vote for us. We pride ourselves on teamwork and although I am privileged to be receiving this award tonight on behalf of the Company, I am accepting it on behalf of each and every one of our team.”

PMW has been dedicated to looking after the wealth of families and individuals since 1969. Ceris Hymas said “It is as a real honour to receive a national award that recognises our commitment to providing a comprehensive and attentive service to clients, who are situated both locally and throughout the UK.”

For more information about Partridge Muir & Warren you can visit www.pmw.co.uk or call 01372 471550.

Record £3.1million donation!

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National Garden Scheme (NGS) has made a record donation of £3.1million from funds raised at garden openings in 2017

This year their beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, Carer's Trust, Queen's Nursing Institute, Parkinson's UK, Perennial and MS Society.

Donations to charities who actively promote the health benefits of gardens have been increased this year and include two new beneficiaries - Leonard Cheshire and Maggie's Centres. This year's donation to Macmillan Cancer Support also marks an ambitious five year partnership to fund a new specialist cancer care unit at Y Bwthyn in South Wales.

They would like to thank all their garden owners, volunteers and garden visitors for their amazing support, and for their record-breaking fundraising. Read more on their website here >>> www.ngs.org.uk

Wood Engravings by Anne Desmet and Friends

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Exhibition: 5 May - 23 June 2018

Printmaker Anne Desmet RA will curate an intimate exhibition of contemporary wood engravings at Kevis House Gallery in Petworth, West Sussex. Anne Desmet is one of only three wood engravers to be elected as Academicians in the Royal Academy's 250-year history.

The show will feature the work of six artists; Anne Desmet RA, Neil Bousfield, Edwina Ellis, Peter Lawrence, Peter S Smith and Roy Willingham.

“What I hope to create is a sense of six mini solo exhibitions, each one bringing out some of the abiding threads in each artist's work." Says Desmet. "Although all of the artists regularly exhibit with the Society of Wood Engravers, none of the works shown here has ever previously been exhibited by the Society of Wood Engravers, so they will offer a wealth of unseen delights to even the most assiduous devotee of wood engraving exhibitions. All the engravings shown will offer key insights into the ongoing, long-held interests of each engraver and all are works that each artist considers seminal in their expansive oeuvre.”

Neil Bousfield is a younger artist whose engravings started out as imagery in self generated novels without words, following in the grand tradition of Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward and bearing striking similarities to the characteristic noir atmosphere of Ward's 1930's engravings. More recently Bousfield has experimented with subtle overlays of printed colour, tone and pattern, developed from vigorous, keenly observed drawings of beaches, harbours and landscape near his home in Norfolk, coupled with imaginative aerial views, contours and geography of Ordnance Survey maps. “ The work here explores the notion of place and home encapsulated through experience, memory and narrative,” says Bousfield “made tangible within drawing and engraving."

Anne Desmet RA's chooses architectural motifs as her subject matter. However whilst her engravings depict specific places, they are also intended to represent something universal; the way light brings life to a subject; the way apparently permanent structures are poignantly prone to the ravages and redevelopments of time, weather and human intervention. Her interests also spreads into what our buildings tell us about mankind's great aspirations, follies, passions and humour.

Desmet enjoys playing with shape, form and structure - to break down and rebuild existing structures into invented or more abstract forms through the medium of collage. These small scale, highly detailed works which take, often, many weeks to create, may evoke in the viewer a sense both of timelessness or of the passage of time - or both ideas simultaneously. These are the abiding thoughts and threads that have connected her prints and collages since her first tentative engravings (in the mid 1980s) to today, whether their subject is ancient Rome London's Olympic site, Brooklyn Bridge, a derelict neo-classical interior or Eton College.

Edwina Ellis established her reputation with meticulously wrought, observational, landscape and still life engravings. Recently PhD studies have led her to experiment "with colour and compound engraving and printing and continue to augment the modular collection of engravings, vinyl cuts and linocuts developed during this research. My current aim," Ellis says, "is to harness and combine the techniques I have developed in the belief that experimental journeys close in on what it's all about."

Closer looks at Ellis's work shows a strong sense of the abstract within the particular, a sense of layering and an intricate textile reminiscent of woven textiles.

Peter Lawrence's engravings have long celebrated the glorious abstract potential of the wood engraving medium at a time when many other British practitioners stayed firmly within the figurative tradition of Bewick.

"Dark Corners, is one of the first completely abstract prints. Working from an outline drawing of forms, the engraving is largely improvised. Other prints are abstracted from life, or combine a series of differently styled engravings with an abstract form, sometimes using multiple blocks to resemble collage." says Lawrence.

Peter S Smith's engravings, like Edwina Ellis's, have a strong textural quality and a pervading sense of the abstract within the particular.

"On sunny days, while waiting for the train. I draw my shadow across the station: some of the drawings become engravings."

Smith's engravings are fascinating both as semi-abstract compositions in light and shade but also because the character of each engraved mark and the combination of marks he makes are unpredictable and unexpected.

Roy Willingham has long been concerned with the fine balance between the figurative and the abstract. His starting point is often meticulously observed drawings yet many diverse influences including Russian Constructivist graphics, Edward Wadsworth's Dazzle Ship engravings, Picasso, Matisse and a vibrant yet finely calibrated sense of colour and tone have long invested his work with great energy and originality. They are truly miniature marvels.

Refering to his print Downland, Willingham says "This print derives from the memory of a walk over the South Downs from Hassocks to Lewes and a solitary tree near Ditchling Beacon standing out against the emptiness of the downland landscape."

Kevis House Gallery hosts the Society of Wood Engravers Annual Exhibition each year (next held November - December 2018). The gallery holds a large collection of work by the wood engraver Gwenda Morgan (1908 - 1991). Kevis House also exhibits pictures by a range of contemporary artists.

For more information please visit www.kevishouse.com

Eggcellent

The Children's Trust Easter Fair Eggs

An ‘Eggcellent’ day out for the whole family – The Children's Trust Easter Fair

Promising enough chocolate eggs to feed the whole of Surrey, The Children’s Trust annual Easter Fair returns on Saturday 31 March. Taking place at the charity’s specialist centre in Tadworth between 12 and 4pm, this event is one not to be missed.

Family fun includes the much-loved Easter egg hunt, an Easter themed market, Easter egg decorating, Wacky Wheelers mini-tanks, ponies, fairground rides, raffles and more. Local band Atlantis will also be entertaining crowds with music throughout the day.

Last year the event raised more than £6,000 and it is hoped that this amount will be beaten with the fantastic attractions and games on offer for families from across Surrey and Sussex who attend. All proceeds from the event go to The Children's Trust, supporting children and families affected by brain injury and neurodisability.

FREE entry for children (under 16), £3 for adults. Book now, www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk

About The Children’s Trust
Every year 40,000 children in the UK are left with a brain injury as a result of an accident or illness and many have to live with ongoing, long-term difficulties. The Children’s Trust gives children and young people with brain injury and neurodisability opportunities to live the best life possible, by providing specialist rehabilitation, education and community services across the UK. For more info please visit: www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk

Next Generation Noodles

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Now available in Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores, oomi noodles offer a functional convenience food like no other and provide a product that is both healthy and tasty.

Whilst low carbohydrate noodles have been on the market for a few years oomi take things to a new level. Not only do they provide a low carbohydrate noodle that has the same bite and taste as a high quality fresh noodle, but one that is also gluten free and bursting with lean protein.

With nearly 13g of high quality protein per serving, oomi provide a low carbohydrate, gluten free noodle with a difference, which will appeal to anyone living an active and healthy lifestyle. Whilst the carbohydrate levels are 75% fewer than your average chilled egg noodle, their superior protein source, sustainably sourced white fish, provides important nutrition to support exercise. oomi don’t just differ from other noodles on the nutrition front. Current low carbohydrate and gluten free noodles often rely on a watery pack environment, which oomi’s patented production method avoids, presenting a finished product indistinguishable in taste and texture to a classic fresh noodle. As with fresh noodles, oomi also offer a high level of convenience. Available in ‘snap- pack packaging’, providing two individual portions, they can be thrown in a wok, heated in a microwave and even eaten cold from the pack in vibrant salads. Basically, everywhere you use a noodle, use an oomi noodle!

Most importantly oomi noodles taste great and their combination of quality protein and noodle convenience creates a delicious food with purpose.

To find out more please visit >>> www.oominoodles.com


Jumbo Welcome

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101 artist designed elephants enter the City of Mumbai through the Gateway of India

Politicians, celebrities, artists and designers came together at the Gateway of India Mumbai, where a stunning display of 101 artistic elephants were assembled to celebrate the launch of the first ever Elephant Parade India. The elephants will be paraded across the city in a series of public art exhibitions and simultaneously be sold at an online auction on Paddle8, online auction partner, going live on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra inaugurated the parade with Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Hon'ble Minister of Women and Child Development & Founder, People for Animals and Smt. Poonam Mahajan, Hon'ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and Parade Ambassador.

The inauguration was attended by key supporters of Elephant Family including Natasha Poonawalla, Vikram Goyal and Beenu Bawa along with artists, designers and celebrities including Rohit Bal, Ashiesh Shah, Michelle Poonawalla, Aradhana Seth, Mozez Singh, Mehr Rampal, Dhruvi Acharya, Pranab Das, Jennifer Winget and Sehban Azim . Dr Sandeep Kr Tiwari, of the Wildlife Trust of India - Elephant Family’s biggest conservation partner and the organisation pioneering the 101 corridor solution for India’s elephants also attended.

Created as part of the UK India Year of Culture, Elephant Parade India is organised by Elephant Family in association with Good Earth and in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India. The sales generated through the online auction will raise funds to secure 101 crucial Indian elephant corridors, the pathways that elephants depend upon to get from one forest feeding ground to the next.

The exhibition dates and venues across the city of Mumbai include:
March 2-6: Priyadarshini Park
March 2-6: Shri Siddhivinayak Mandir
March 2-6: High Street Phoenix Lower Parel
March 2-6: Sophia’s College for Women
March 2-6: Radio One office Lower Parel
March 3-7: Worli Sea Face
March 8-11: R City mall Ghatkopar, Phoenix Market City Kurla, Grand Hyatt-Kalina
March 14-18: Carter Road beach and amphitheatre; Bandra Fort; Infiniti Malls Malad & Andheri; Oberoi Mall; Taj Land’s End, Bandra; Bombay Art Society, Bandra

Ruth Ganesh, Trustee Elephant Family said: “We dreamed of the Gateway of India to launch our herd and never quite believed it would come true. Today made us feel like children in a sweet shop on a sugar high. Thank you and get ready Mumbai - these elephants will bring you so much joy.”

Poonam Mahajan, Parade Ambassador added: “Having worked as an environmentalist and animal lover for so long, I was thrilled to be approached by the Elephant Family to support the same cause which we have been working on with People for Animals for Asiatic Elephants. It’s important to us as over the past 100 years we’ve lost 90% of Asian Elephants, and now as nature, the environment and human beings all co-exist together, awareness is now coming, and it is time for action. By showcasing these beautifully painted 101 elephants by renowned artists and designers all across the city of Mumbai we are bringing everyone together to increase that awareness. Through this initiative we’d like to raise significant funds to help India’s 101 corridors for elephants, and build the crucial rescue centres around the forests that are so needed. This wonderful art exhibition we have launched is the first step and the exhibition is open to all Mumbaikars .”

Please visit www.elephant-family.org

Painshill - We need help

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Protect Painshill from A3 Land Grab

Highways England are proposing a number of changes to the M25 & A3 roads which will have a major negative impact on Painshill (Grade 1 listed 18th century landscape garden). Highways England’s proposed preferred development will ‘grab land’ from Painshill, meaning areas of the landscape will be lost forever under the development of the ever increasing road network.

Painshill Park Trust is calling on Highways England to reject its current ”Preferred Route” and return to the project design phase so that the safeguarding of the historic Park can be included in the design criteria.

Michael Gove, CEO of Painshill comments; “Painshill is one of the most important, significant and historic landscape gardens in the country. After 35 years of restoration, we’re calling on members of the public to support and help protect this much loved part of Britain’s Heritage from the A3 road development.”

Members of the public are able to sign and support the petition if they believe Painshill should be protected from the development of the A3 so it can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Why we need help
Painshill Park Trust seeks to safeguard parts of the much loved landscape garden, and protect it from this road development. Highways England’s preferred development will take large parts of land that runs past the Gothic Tower (built 1750’s) and destroy a high number of trees from the ancient woodlands.

To read more and sign the petition please visit >>> www.painshill.co.uk


Mother’s Day Weekend at RHS Gardens and Partner Gardens

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Delight in the joys of spring and treat Mum to an inspiring day out at RHS Gardens and Partner Gardens this Mothering Sunday

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March 2018 At the four RHS Gardens and dozens of RHS Partner Gardens around the country, there are plenty of ideas for spending quality time with Mum in beautiful surroundings this Mother’s Day. Seek out cheerful signs of spring around the gardens, take part in inspiring workshops or indulge in the sweet tradition of tea and cake and give Mum a day to remember.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor, mums can enjoy a special Afternoon Tea on Saturday 10 March, including cakes, sandwiches and a traditional Devonshire cream tea, served to a table in the small Garden Room. The Garden Room will also host a demonstration of paper flower-making and everyone can take home a free gift of a beautiful paper peony. Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea is £20 per person and must be booked ahead online. On Sunday 11 March, the award-winning Rosemoor Garden Kitchen will be serving its famed Sunday Carvery menu, packed with the finest locally-sourced and homegrown produce – booking is advised.

Don’t miss one of the biggest celebrations of spring-flowering plants at the Spring Flower Competitions on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March, with classes including camellias, early magnolias, rhododendrons, daffodils and hyacinths. Enjoy a sensual feast of colour and scent examining some of the finest specimens from growers across the country before taking a stroll around the garden to see Rosemoor’s own camellias, rhododendrons and daffodils bringing the garden to life.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr will be a welcoming sight, awash with beautiful spring colour as many varieties of early-flowering bulbs including daffodils, tulips, muscari, hyacinth and iris burst into flower. Stop by Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms for lunch to enjoy home-cooked dishes with a Swiss influence, or a traditional afternoon tea of sandwiches, cakes and pastries for £19.95 – or for £27.95 add pink Champagne to make it an extra-special treat for Mum.

Over in Essex at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, explore the garden as the spring season bursts into life before rewarding mum with a delightful afternoon tea for £12.95 per person (booking essential) on Sunday 11 March. Alternatively, book Mum onto the ‘What Now? Your Garden in March and April’ workshop on Saturday 10 March and inspire her to get into the garden. RHS experts will guide attendees through staking, planting, lifting and dividing of seasonal plants with practical techniques demonstrated in the garden from 11am to 1pm.

Meanwhile, at RHS Garden Wisley the Terrace Room will open specially for Mother’s Day, with either a two-course lunch or a sumptuous afternoon tea available at £25 per person (book in advance by emailing preferred time and numbers to wisley@companyofcooks.com), including a complimentary gift for Mum. A walk around the garden to see the beauty of early spring blossom and bulbs in flower is the perfect way to work up an appetite.

In addition, Saturday 10March sees the Orchid Society of Great Britain Spring Show in the Glasshouse Gallery at Wisley, where experts and growers will be on hand with advice and quality orchids to buy. A treat for any orchid fans, this show offers an opportunity to learn about more unusual species and see beautiful displays created by OSGB members.

Elsewhere around the country, many RHS Partner Gardens have exciting events planned for the Mother’s Day weekend, and RHS members can visit for free on selected days. On Saturday 10 March at A Weekend for Mum at Penshurst Place in Kent, kids can make special cards for Mum, and adults can learn to make scented gifts on Sunday 11 March. In Norfolk, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden’s head gardener Ian Guest will take families on a guided tour of the garden after which each mother will receive a primrose.

On the outskirts of London, take a stroll around the grounds in search of spring beauty at Osterley Park before tasting wines, juices, jams and curds in the Brewhouse coffee shop. Meanwhile, at Compton Acres in Dorset both RHS Members and mums can enjoy the gardens for free, and there’s a potted plant gift for every mum who is treated to Sunday lunch.

Other RHS Partner Gardens open for free to RHS Members on Mother’s Day include:
• The Dorothy Clive Garden, Shropshire
• Tatton Park, Cheshire
• Kilver Court Garden, Somerset
• East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens, Norfolk
• Larch Cottage Nurseries, Cumbria
• Tylney Hall, Hampshire
• Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire
• Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire
• Godinton House and Gardens, Kent
• Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
• Scone Palace, Perthshire

For more information about Mothers day and other events at RHS Wisley please visit >>> www.rhs.org.uk

Guildford Shakespeare Company

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SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHDAY BASH RETURNS FOR 7th YEAR!

Now in its 7th year, WILL’S BIRTHDAY BASH is Guildford Shakespeare Company’s annual celebration of William Shakespeare birthday, 23 April 1564. Will’s Birthday Bash has always been a sell-out event, and once again the award-winning theatre company have lined an exciting programme to mark the occasion, kicking off with their 7th SONNET WALK WEEKEND (21-22 April). Akin to a treasure hunt, the Sonnet Walks take audiences on a mystery walking-tour where walkers will encounter Shakespeare and his characters in the least likely of places. In previous year years, the especially designed route has included the roof of House of Fraser, a fortune teller in Rack’s Close, a prisoner in the Castle Keep, and last year St Catherine’s Ruin and a field of sheep!

This year, GSC are very excited to announce a brand new venue for the walks – the historic West Horsley Place. The Grade I listed manor house and surrounding estate were inherited by Bamber Gascoigne, who has set up a charity, The Mary Roxburghe Trust, to rescue and restore West Horsley Place and to establish there a vibrant centre for the performing and visual arts and for the teaching of crafts. The incredible house and grounds will be taken over by actors for the weekend, allowing audiences to discover not only fabulous speeches and sonnets from Shakespeare, but also this magnificent home once visited by Elizabeth I.

The Bash continues with a special staged reading of Shakespeare’s THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, on Wednesday 25 April. Based loosely on Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, this collaboration with John Fletcher is pure Jacobean drama with dark sibling rivalry, unrequited love and deception…it also includes a group of amateur actors (harking back to the successes of Dream?) and... wait for it... a baboon! Following the sell-out staged readings of Pericles, Cymbeline and Henry VIII, join us for another of Shakespeare’s rarely performed plays.

The final event in the Bash is GSC’s flagship youth theatre, the GSC YOUNG COMPANY, second public performance (29-30 April). Devised, written and performed by their group of 12 – 16 year old aspiring actors, the performance is based on the three Shakespeare plays GSC staged last year, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The two Gentlemen of Verona. The play cleverly intertwines story lines from all three plays, and includes new characters inspired by the originals. “That was the most inspiring evening” Audience member 2017

Tickets for Will’s Birthday Bash go on sale 19 March (Priority Booking opens 12 March). www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk Tickets £10 - £16.

Kilimanjaro and the Virgin London Marathon?

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A walk in the park!

Sarah steps-up for wildlife with two gruelling challenges. With many people struggling to keep their New Year’s Resolutions and be more active in 2018, 23-year-old Sarah Locke, from Henfield, has put her money where her mouth is and will take on two epic physical challenges this spring, in aid of Horsham-based international wildlife charity Born Free.

Sarah, who works as Executive Assistant to Born Free’s President, Will Travers OBE, will fly to Tanzania in early February, along with her younger sister Annabel, 19, and 13 other climbers, on a mission to conquer Africa’s highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip, organised by the XP Club, a private members’ organisation which encourages entrepreneurship and achievement, will involve a gruelling seven-day trek through five different eco-systems including rainforest, alpine and glacial terrain, before they reach the summit, some 585 metres above sea level.

Sarah says: “I’ve always loved hiking and have climbed quite a few mountains in the UK. I have actually hiked the UK’s three highest mountains; Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis - not that they’ll be anything on Kilimanjaro of course!

“Now Christmas is officially over, my training has stepped up a bit! I think I’m most nervous about the altitude as it’s quite hard to prepare for and difficult to predict! Plus, the temperature is going to be a lot chillier than anything I hiked in before so I’m having to stock up on lots of warm gear.”

After returning from Tanzania, Sarah will have just eight weeks to step up her training for the Virgin London Marathon on the 22nd April. Having already completed several half marathons, including Brighton, Conwy and the Great North Run, Sarah has some distance running experience under her belt, but is not underestimating the challenge.

She says: “I do enjoy running once I’m out there but a full 26 miles will take some serious training. Plus running without the companion of my springer spaniel, Bilbo, is something I'll have to adjust to!

“What with both challenges being so close together, I can’t work out which I’m most excited for. Kilimanjaro will be such an experience, but once it’s over I think the marathon will catch up with me very quickly, so I’m trying to stay as prepared as I can.”

Sarah’s sponsorship money will go to two of Born Free’s partner projects. The first is SeaSense in Tanzania, which protects endangered marine turtles when they hatch from their nests and have to make the dangerous journey to the sea. The second half of the funds will go to a community-based programme in Kenya. Born Free engages communities with the local wildlife by supporting infrastructure improvements, providing educational resources, and tackling issues such as lack of renewable energy and clean water.

Born Free’s President, Will Travers OBE, who has himself successfully climbed Kilimanjaro twice, said: "When Sarah reaches the top and looks down from the Roof of Africa to the world spread out below, she will understand, as I did, why protecting the natural world and all life on earth is a mission to embrace for all time.”

To sponsor Sarah. Please visit: www.justgiving.com

To find out more about the work of the Born Free Foundation, go to: www.bornfree.org.uk

To find out more about the XP Club visit: www.thexpclub.com

What do you give the Man or Woman who has everything?

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What is so personal and unique that no one else will have, to give to your Valentine.

The sense tour of the Burlington Arcade. The most uniquely perfect gift bespoke for the one you love, beautiful fragrance brands such as Frederic Malle, Penhaligon’s and Roja Parfums will take you and your loved one on a sensory experience to create an elite bespoke sent individual to your partner.

This is the ultimate luxury Valentines Day experience for the man or woman who has it all. The scent specialists at the stores will spend time with you and your Valentine getting to know their likes and dislikes, not only with scent but additional information helps these specialists craft a selection of scents to suit your preference may that be floral or aromatic, or a new blend of fragrances.

The specialist will see which scents trigger happy memories in your loved one and help them understand the ingredients which appeal to them, able to give them an insight into the world of fragrance. Ultimately to deliver a bespoke fragrance as a gift from you to your Valentine this special gift will stay with your love always, and the experience will be a treasured memory.

For more information please visit > www.burlingtonarcade.com

Clock In to Half Term Fun at Brooklands!

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12th - 16th February 2018

Hundreds of families will be spending February half term on the factory floor in the recently completed Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey. Inside the newly restored Bellman hangar, visitors will be able to clock in and don factory workcoats as they begin their ‘Brooklands Apprenticeship’. A series of workshops and interactives explore some of the skills used over the 80-year history of aircraft manufacture at Brooklands. On a new mezzanine level, the story of design at Brooklands is told and visitors can design their own military and civilian aircraft from different eras of aviation including those of the future. Leaving the Factory and entering the new Flight Shed visitors will see some of the Museum’s collection of complete aircraft, including opportunities to sit in the cockpits of the Hawker Hunter and Harrier, as well as displays on radar, ground-to-air radio and pioneering pilots.

The Museum’s collections of pre-war racing cars and motorbikes, the incredible Barnes Wallis ‘Stratosphere Chamber’ and the Brooklands Aircraft Park, featuring post-war aircraft including the Sultan of Oman’s VC-10 will all be open as usual. As well as this, there are racing and flying simulator rides in the 4D Theatre, special Kids Tours on Concorde and for children aged 5-11 years the chance to design your own sky scene in a special aviation-themed Family Workshop with the Brooklands Learning Team. The drop-in workshop is FREE to attend and runs from 11am – 12noon and again from 1pm – 3pm. All materials are provided.

However, if visitors really want to feel the wind through their hair, the Museum’s long-established and hugely popular rides in vintage-style cars* and on London Bus Museum’s iconic double-decker buses* will also be operating during weekdays in Half Term. Car rides take in the challenging summit of Test Hill and the Members’ Banking, the steepest part of the original Race Track, as long as it’s not too wet or slippery, from 11am–1pm and again from 2 – 3.30pm. London Bus Museum’s double-decker bus trips will run every half an hour from 11am until 3.30pm, except for a short break over lunchtime.

The Sunbeam Café is the ideal place for refuelling and add to this a visit to the Museum Shop to pick up a souvenir and you have the recipe for a perfect day out come rain or shine. And don’t forget to look out for the Museum’s larger than life mascot, Bertie Bear, who will be roaming the site looking for fans to have his photograph taken with!

Normal admission prices apply for half term week and are: adults £13.50, seniors £11.50, children (5-16 yrs) £7, family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £35. The half-hour Concorde Experience is £5 for adults, £3 for children, 4D simulator rides are £4 for adults, £2 for children. *A minimum donation of £1 per passenger is requested for car and bus rides. The main visitor entrance for the Museum is via Mercedes-Benz World, on Brooklands Drive off Wellington Way between Weybridge and Byfleet.

For full details of events, directions and general Museum information, please telephone 01932 857381 or visit www.brooklandsmuseum.com. The Museum is open daily from 10am – 4pm in winter. Last entry is one hour before closing.

A big day out with Peter Rabbit™ at Kew Gardens

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Friday 30 March – Sunday 15 April 2018

Join Peter Rabbit and all his furry friends on a botanical bunny adventure this Easter at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Visitors can expect an exciting activity-packed day out with games, crafts and storytelling inspired by Beatrix Potter’s iconic tales.

• First Peter Rabbit themed Easter festival at Kew Gardens
• Activity workshops, games, and crafts
• An interactive trail inspiring children to connect with nature


Children will be delighted by the exquisite illustrated world of Peter Rabbit set against the stunning landscape of Kew Gardens. Spring will be well and truly underway and the Gardens will be filled with the dazzling colour of blooming crocuses, daffodils and magnolias. The Easter extravaganza will celebrate the beauty of nature at Kew and encourage visitors of all ages to explore the wonderful world of fruit, vegetables and other edible plants, whilst learning about how they are grown.

From Kew’s beautiful Secluded Garden, visitors will follow a Peter Rabbit trail to find activity pop-ups for all ages. A trip to Mr McGregor’s potting shed will encourage visitors plant their very own seeds to take home and nurture. Elsewhere, youngsters can choose which Peter Rabbit character they’d like to be for the day and make some fuzzy bunny ears to match.

Around the festival hub, children and adults will also be able to get stuck into all sorts of giant food card games, while the hilarious veggie consequences workshop will offer the chance to create incredible monster vegetables. Special Peter Rabbit selfie boards will offer the chance to take fun souvenir snaps of the day out.

Visitors can also pop into Kew’s incredible Kitchen Garden nearby, to admire the amazing display of colourful fruit and veg grown by Kew’s very own kitchen gardeners.

What’s more, there will be a variety of delicious Easter culinary offerings available at the festival hub, as well as Peter Rabbit gifts and goodies available in the Kew shop.

Gina Koutsika, Head of Visitor Programmes, Events and Exhibitions says: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Penguin Ventures to produce a brand new and truly magical Peter Rabbit™ themed festival at Kew Gardens. I am sure our interactive trail and activities will delight visitors of all ages and will encourage families to learn more about the science behind the fruit and veg that Peter Rabbit so loves to eat.”

Thomas Merrington, Creative Director, Penguin Ventures says: “Peter Rabbit is synonymous with mischief and garden adventures and will be perfectly at home in the beautiful setting of Kew Gardens. We can’t wait to see young fans and their families enjoy the fantastic activities that Kew has planned with Peter this Easter.”

Admission to the festival is included in the general entrance ticket to the Gardens (Adult - £17.00, child - £5.00).
Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in West Sussex, will also be hosting its own Easter festival, Peter Rabbit™ Goes Wild.

Visit www.kew.org and watch out for more information in the coming months.

Beasts, Battles and the Easter Bunny at Penshurst Place and Gardens!

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Winners of the Kent Tourism Award for Best Family Day out

Penshurst Place and Gardens reopens on 10th February, with an action-packed calendar of events in-store for visitors.

Families will be happy to hear that lots of their favourite activities are making a return, including bushcraft skills, crafts, storytelling and falconry displays. There are also several exciting new events in the pipeline, including a Junk Orchestra for Father's Day, a mini beast safari with the Kent Wildlife Trust during Glorious Gardens weekend, and a Hands on History event on Armed Forces Day to commemorate WWI. And, of course, there’s plenty to keep children entertained through the school holidays, including an Enchanted Gardens Trail this half-term.

Upcoming events include:

February Half Term
10th – 18th February, 10.30am – dusk
Explore the Enchanted Gardens Trail to discover the magical forest dwellers who have descended from the parkland. Winding through the 11 acres of formal gardens, the trail is sure to delight children and adults alike. Each character along the trail will reveal a clue to help you unlock a hidden message. Can you discover all the clues to solve the puzzle? Visitors will also be able to enjoy all that Penshurst Place has to offer, including the giant adventure playground and Toy Museum.

A Weekend for Mum
10th March, 12noon – 4pm: Children’s crafts & card making
11th March, 12noon – 4pm: Adult Pot Pourri

Children are invited to the Old Coach House on the 10th March for craft making. You’ll be helped to create a beautiful card to show mum just how much you love her. On the 11th, Jan Black is leading an adult craft session, where you’ll make pot pourri and lavender bags to take home. ​

Elizabeth I and the Armada: Ready the Battle Stations!
Saturday 17th March & Sunday 18th March, All Day
Journey back in time with Penshurst Place! (No time machine required ...) You’ll travel back to the 16th century, where members of staff are preparing for battle! This is a live-action event not to be missed.
​​
The Easter Break
30th Mar – 15th Apr
10.30am – 6pm: Trails
12noon – 4pm: Crafts

The Easter Rabbit’s best springtime friend is hiding in the garden. But who could it be? You’ll need to find the clues on our giant Easter eggs to discover their identity!

April Fools Easter Storytelling
1st April, 1pm, 1.45pm & 2.30pm​​
It’s not just people who get tricked on April Fools Day! Younger children will love to watch Aardvark Productions’ tale about the Easter Rabbit and the funny prank he fell for.

Most activities are free with admission. Please visit www.penshurstplace.com for more information.

Guildford Shakespeare Company

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ROMEO & JULIET 3 - 24 February 2018

The award-winning* Guildford Shakespeare Company open 2018 with a site-responsive production of Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET, featuring HARRIET THORPE as the Nurse, staged in Surrey’s largest Georgian church, Holy Trinity Guildford.

HARRIET THORPE is one of Britain's best loved actresses, best known for her roles in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, THE BRITTAS EMPIRE, FRENCH & SAUNDERS, THE COMIC STRIP, and feature films CALENDAR GIRLS and AB FAB THE MOVIE. Her theatre credits include West End hits WICKED and MAMMA MIA!, as well as numerous appearances at THE NATIONAL THEATRE, most recently in Richard Bean’s GREAT BRITAIN.

GSC, now in their 12th year, specialise in creating visceral and immersive theatre experiences in non-theatre venues. “The nurturing of new audiences for Shakespeare is at the core of our work” continued Co-Founder Matt Pinches, “and this production will be absolutely perfect for that, whether they are young or old; whilst still giving seasoned theatre-goers a very special version of this powerful story”.

Embracing the same period as the church itself (completed in 1764), this production will highlight the beauty of the church’s architecture, bringing the impact of Holy Trinity’s ecclesiastical spirit to the forefront: accentuating the play’s themes of duty, passion and sacrifice. The black and gold Victorian Rood-Screen will be utilised to create Georgian-style cameos whilst also providing the perfect framing for Juliet’s candle lit tomb in front of the alter.

The late-Georgian period was a time when women were beginning to find their own voices in a male-dominated world, with inspirational figures such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley rising to prominence. “Juliet’s determination to find her own happiness amidst a family dominated by her father, and the strict moral codes of upper-class society, will be given a very powerful voice with this particular setting”.
The title roles will be played RICKY OAKLEY and LUCY PEARSON. Lucy last worked with the company in 2015, playing Alice in their promenade production of Alice in Wonderland, staged to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the book’s publication, and Guildford’s links to Lewis Carroll.

Director/Designer team CHARLOTTE CONQUEST (NATIONAL THEATRE, SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE) and NEIL IRISH (ENO, OPERA HOLLAND PARK, WATERMILL THEATRE) return to the company following their recent collaboration on GSC’s summer 5 STAR The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Joining them are MATT EATON (Sound Designer) and PETER HARRISON (Lighting). Original choral music is composed by MARY MCADAM.

For more information visit >>> www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk

Horsham-based Born Free launches Ivory Amnesty

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Born Free

Following this week's blanket media coverage of Born Free Co-Founder, Virginia McKenna OBE’s, appeal to the Antiques Roadshow to cease featuring ivory items and the BBC’s decision to review its ivory policy, Born Free, the Horsham-based international wildlife conservation charity, has launched an Ivory Amnesty aimed at people who no longer wish to have any ivory items in their possession.

Virginia McKenna said: “I am sure there are many thousands of people who have unwanted ivory in their possession. At home, in a cupboard, on the mantelpiece, on a desk, in a drawer? I am also sure that there are many who are uncertain what to do with it.

“It seems clear to me that the government is likely to bring in measures that would make the re-selling of most ivory items in the UK illegal. The possession of ivory artefacts will be permitted, but at Born Free we recognise that many people have ivory they no longer feel comfortable owning and would like someone to take it off their hands. Born Free’s Ivory Amnesty is the answer!”

Born Free is asking members of the public to send in their unwanted ivory, which they guarantee will be destroyed. Born Free promises never to allow the ivory, or any of the ivory it holds in trust, to be sold or traded. The amnesty starts today and will run until 28th February.

Born Free Co-Founder and President Will Travers OBE, said: “If you decide to send us your ivory, we will send you a certificate confirming receipt of your item and acknowledging the important decision that you have made.

“Millions of citizens in the UK and worldwide reject the notion of putting a commercial value on ivory. For them, and for Born Free, the days of trade are over.

If you are one of these people and you have unwanted ivory, join our Ivory Amnesty, make your position clear and, together, let’s consign the ivory trade to history books - where it belongs.”

Ivory items should be sent, preferably by recorded delivery, to: Born Free Foundation, Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, RH12 4QP.

For further clarification please email info@bornfree.org.uk.

Will UK Government finally ban wild animal circuses?

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Animal Defenders International

ADI has welcomed reports today that a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in England is finally to be progressed by the UK Government. If true, it signifies an end to years of inaction and more than a decade of promises by successive governments, during which ADI has time and again exposed animal suffering.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International
, said: "Animal Defenders International welcomes the reports of government plans to finally put the ban on wild animals in circuses before Parliament. However, we remain cautious after so many broken promises over the years. "When parliamentary time allows" has often, it seems, been code for "it's not going to happen", yet the public wants an end to circus suffering and ADI's evidence has repeatedly shown that circus animals urgently need government action".

Due to the level of cross-party support, the Labour Government first promised to ban wild animals in circuses during the passage of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Following the shocking abuse of three elephants at the Great British Circus in 2009, exposed by ADI, a public consultation on the issue was launched by Defra. The results published in 2010 showed 94.5% supported a ban on wild animal acts and resulted in a commitment from the Labour Government before the General Election resulted in a Coalition Government.

In 2011, ADI exposed the terrible abuse of Anne the elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus, leading to backbench MPs demanding a ban, again with cross-party support. ADI’s shocking footage also led to a cruelty conviction for circus owner Bobby Roberts. With a commitment from the Coalition Government in 2012, legislation was drafted the following year but the bill has simply gathered dust. In the 2015 election 98% of MPs stood on a manifesto promise to ban wild animals in circuses. Repeated efforts by backbench MPs to bring in a ban through Private Member’s Bills have been thwarted by just a few MPs.

In 2016, ADI revealed the miserable lives of Thomas Chipperfield’s lions and tigers, caged on the back of a truck and shut behind metal shutters at night and with restricted access to an outdoor exercise during the day. ADI also revealed suffering the same year at the winter quarters of Peter Jolly’s Circus. Appalling overcrowding, fighting between animals, a worker tormenting a camel, animals kept inside for days on end, and failure to comply with government regulations were documented.

Changing attitudes and awareness of animal suffering have seen the number of wild animal circuses in Britain plummet. Only two circuses with wild animals performed in England last year, Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus.

Expert analysis of scientific evidence undertaken by Professor Stephen Harris at Bristol University in 2016, and commissioned by the Welsh Government, concluded, “The available scientific evidence indicates that captive wild animals in circuses and other travelling animal shows do not achieve their optimal welfare requirements.” The report stated that “Life for wild animals in travelling circuses…does not appear to constitute either a ‘good life’ or a ‘life worth living’”.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) has concluded “there is by no means the possibility that their [wild mammals in traveling circuses’] physiological, mental and social requirements can adequately be met.” while the British Veterinary Association concludes that “The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus - in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.”

Undercover investigations by ADI inside animal circuses in the UK, Europe, US, and South America have lifted the curtain on the abuse that goes on behind the scenes in circuses leading to bans in countries as diverse as Greece, Singapore, Costa Rica, Taiwan and Colombia. In Bolivia and Peru, ADI has completed major enforcement operations, with wildlife officials and police, tracking down every circus and rescuing all the animals – approaching 200 animals were rescued and relocated.

More than 40 countries around the world have introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses to date and opinion polls consistently show that the UK public remains overwhelmingly opposed to wild animal acts, with a high proportion against all animal acts. In November, Ireland introduced regulations prohibiting wild animal acts from 1 January 2018; in December Scotland unanimously voted in favour of legislation to ban and Wales indicated it will work with Defra and the Devolved Administrations to “consider cross-border issues” given the “strong support for a ban” following its consultation on mobile animal exhibits.

Reports of a ban in England come on the day New Jersey votes to become the first US state to ban wild animal acts. Over 80 US jurisdictions in 31 states have taken action to restrict such acts.

Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is always compromised.

Cézanne - Portraits of Life

In cinemas nationwide from January 23 2018 - From multi award-winning director Phil Grabsky

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN will welcome in the new year with the release of Cézanne - Portraits of Life, a brand new documentary exploring the life, art and legacy of the “father” of modern art, Paul Cézanne.



Described by Picasso and Matisse as “the father of us all” Cézanne is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite this, Cézanne remains somewhat unknown, somewhat misunderstood. Until now: this major new documentary film, Cézanne - Portraits of a Life, reveals the true man.

Produced by EXHIBITION ON SCREEN, the film series dedicated to bringing world class art and artists to cinemas worldwide, Cézanne - Portraits of a Life is based on an exhibition of Cézanne portraits that has travelled from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, to the National Portrait Gallery in London and finally the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Over his life Cézanne painted almost 1000 paintings, 160 of which were portraits. The exhibition, billed by art critics as ‘once in a lifetime’, brings together - for the first time - fifty of these portraits from private and public collections all around the world.

These portraits provide the backbone to the moving new cinematic film. As well as offering an unprecedented level of insight into the exhibition, the film features interviews with curators, art experts and his great-grandson Philippe Cézanne. The film, shot in 4k, also travels to Cézanne’s home and studio in Provence and by including correspondence from the artist, it successfully sheds new light on the life and work of this hugely influential artist.

For further information and details of screenings, visit exhibitiononscreen.com

EOS Çzanne - Phil Grabsky © EXHIBITION ON SCREEN (David Bickerstaff)

LOOK UP TO THE STARS

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New constellations based on modern day inspirational figures created in a bid to get more children across the UK looking up to the stars and interested in the universe



· In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair has partnered with astronomers at University of Birmingham to create ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today

· There are new star constellations based on JK Rowling, Usain Bolt, Malala Yousafzai, Sir David Attenborough and Mo Farah – among others

· The constellations were created after research revealed how classical creations based on the zodiac and ancient mythological figures are not inspiring today’s children to look up to the night sky

· Indeed, 72% of children have never looked up at the night sky to find a star constellation, and 29% wouldn’t be able to recognise a single classical constellation when shown them

Many of the 88 existing constellations officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union are based on the zodiac and figures from ancient Greek and Roman mythology, but a new study has found these aren’t necessarily proving successful in enticing children today to look up to the stars - with 29% admitting they wouldn’t actually be able to recognise a single classical constellation.

In a bid to get kids to take up more of an active interest in the cosmos, The Big Bang Fair has worked with University of Birmingham to create a brand-new set of constellations based on inspirational figures of the modern day that young people will want to look up to - in every sense of the term.

The new project, entitled ‘Look Up To Stars’, centres on eight new constellations for the modern day – each one representing famous men and women that are inspiring to children from the worlds of sport, entertainment, science and activism – with a view to encouraging more young people to take up an interest in the universe.

In a study commissioned by The Big Bang Fair to mark the launch of the project, 72% of the 7-19 year-olds that were polled said they have never looked up at the night sky to find a constellation, while 29% admitted they wouldn’t be able to recognise a single classical constellation by name if shown them.

So what are some of the new constellations that astronomy experts at University at Birmingham have created?

New creations from researchers include Harry Potter’s glasses to represent JK Rowling, a tennis racket for Serena Williams, a space-craft for Tim Peake, a blue whale for Sir David Attenborough and a book in honour of Malala Yousafzai.
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Sir Mo Farah meanwhile has been immortalised in the form of an ‘M’ shape constellation after his renowned ‘Mobot’ celebration, with Usain Bolt is also celebrated through a pattern of stars that resembles his own celebratory lightning-bolt stance.

The new constellations are the work of experts at the University of Birmingham’s Astronomy Society. The process of developing the new constellations involved a careful analysis of star maps for different regions of the sky by researchers.

Emma Willett, who led the University of Birmingham research team, commented: “It was an honour to work alongside The Big Bang Fair to develop a new set of constellations for the modern day to encourage children today to look up to the stars. We really hope these new creations will help people of all ages develop their interest in space and astronomy, working to inspire the next generation of astronomers to take an interest in the field.”

Beth Elgood, Director of Communications at EngineeringUK, who organise The Big Bang Fair, said: “Stargazing is a great way to spark young people's interest in the universe and inspire them to find out more. Inspiration is at the heart of The Big Bang Fair, where young visitors, their teachers and parents have the chance to get hands-on with engaging STEM activities, workshops and shows and discover where science and maths could take them in the future.”

About The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. Taking place from 14-17 March 2018 at The NEC in Birmingham, The Big Bang Fair is an award-winning combination of exciting theatre shows, interactive workshops and exhibits and careers information from STEM professionals. Having grown from 6,500 visitors in its first year (2009) to over 70,000 in 2017, The Big Bang Fair is made possible through the collaborative efforts of over 200 organisations.

www.thebigbangfair.co.uk

School groups are invited to visit the first three days of The Big Bang Fair, which will also be open to the public on Saturday. Young people will leave enlightened about how science and engineering feature in everything they wear, eat and do. A number of apprentice, graduate and experienced engineers and scientists will be on hand to quiz, providing young people with the opportunity to discover how science and maths can lead to a great career. The Big Bang Fair also hosts the finals of the prestigious Big Bang Competition.

Christmas from HAIG CLUB

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Stylish Christmas Drinks

Haig Club Winter Spiced Espresso Martini
Dick Bradsell’s classic cocktail is given a decadent and delightful holiday twist

50ml Haig Club
50ml Crème de Cacao
50ml Espresso
1 x Cinnamon

Clubman & Cola Old Fashioned
A modern take on a classic whisky drink which enhances the caramel flavours of the cola and the vanilla flavours of Clubman

50 ml Haig Club Clubman
1 x Brown Sugar
25ml Cola
25ml Sweet Vermouth
1 twist of Cherry & Orange Peel

Clubman & Cola
The sweet, vanilla flavour of Clubman combines perfectly with the smooth caramel of cola to create a refreshing drink with a vibrant, smooth finish

50 ml Haig Club Clubman
250ml Cola
Slice of lime

Stylish Christmas Gifts from HAIG CLUB
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Up the style stakes this Christmas season with the gift of HAIG CLUB, the stunning Single Grain Scotch Whisky from the House of Haig, created in partnership with David Beckham. With its unique and striking square bottle design, HAIG CLUB brings a contemporary twist to Scotch and is a flawlessly stylish Christmas gift for both whisky lovers and newcomers to the Scotch scene.

Crafted using a unique process that combines grain whisky from three cask types, HAIG CLUB offers a fresh, clean flavour with sweet notes of butterscotch and toffee for a deliciously smooth taste. This versatile Scotch works wonderfully over ice, in long drinks, or cocktails – making for the perfect drinkable gift this festive season, whatever your loved one’s style.

HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN is the latest stylish addition to the House of Haig collection. With its vibrant and modern aesthetic, CLUBMAN inherits the same bold and progressive spirit as Haig Club, with the liquid encased in a distinctive elongated square bottle which creates a stand-out silhouette.

HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN has been matured exclusively in American Oak casks that have previously held bourbon, allowing the sweet, gentle Single Grain Scotch Whisky from Cameronbridge to interact with the vanilla, butterscotch and sweet toffee flavours found in the casks. The result is a wonderfully smooth and sweet Scotch which pairs beautifully with cola.

A charmingly chic miniature HAIG CLUB (5cl) is also available, making Haig Club the ultimate luxury stocking filler and party accessory this Christmas.

For more information visit: www.haigclub.com

The Many Faces of Christmas

Nikon releases new portrait photography series which shines a light on the people who make Christmas happen

An original, festive image series, released today by Nikon, sees German photographer Paloma Parrot travel across Europe to capture the people behind some of the most-loved Christmas traditions.

Showcasing the ability of the NIKKOR lenses, the portrait images focus onthe people who work behind the scenes to make Europe’s Christmas celebrations a reality. From one of Lapland’s reindeer handlers to a Christmas tree farmer in Denmark, as well as British stocking and card printers and a German toy maker, the exclusive photography series reveals the skill and artisan craftsmanship of the festive season.

Commenting on her series, Paloma Parrott said: ‘As a portrait photographer I’m looking for equipment that delivers phenomenally accurate subject recognition and superior performance, with the freedom and ability to convey my subject’s story from just one camera body and lens. Both of the lenses I used on this shoot offered the flexibility to capture intimate portraits, while placing these people at the heart of their working environments to visualise their roles in the making of Christmas.’

Paloma Parrot shot the images using Nikon’s new flagship DX-format DSLR, the D7500, and the following NIKKOR lenses:

AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR: This high-performance, compact, all-round DX zoom lens easily covers wide-angle to telephoto zoom ranges, making it suitable for most shooting situations – from intimate portraits to travel photography. Nikon’s impressive Vibration Reduction keeps images sharp, while the lens’ lightweight body balances well on the camera

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G This prime 50mm wide-aperture lens has a large maximum aperture of f/1.4 which is ideal for low-light shooting or when a shallow depth of field is required. It also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for fast, quiet autofocus

Photographers who are inspired by the ‘Faces of Christmas’ series, and want to experiment and develop their portrait photography can take advantage of a cashback promotion on the NIKKOR lenses feature in the campaign.

Please see below for more information about the ‘faces’ of Christmas featured in the campaign, which includes details of their involvement in delivering the festive traditions.

About Paloma Parrott
Paloma Parrot is a German photographer based in Dortmund. She has been sharing her perspective behind the lens for over 20 years. She is known for her minimal, graphic style and obeys the mantra that ‘’less is always more’’.
www.instagram.com/palomaparrot
takingpicturesofwhatever.tumblr.com/

Introducing the ‘Faces’ of Christmas
Cake Baker -  Mike Wallace - UK
Mike Wallace, 70
Cake maker, Meg Rivers Bakery, Shipston-on-Stour (UK)


British cake maker Mike Wallace has been the head baker at Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery for 14 years, where a key part of his role is baking a range of festive treats.

Mike typically starts preparing for Christmas in September. The Christmas cakes, puddings, wreath cake, mince pies and loaf cake are baked in small batches in the morning and finished and decorated by hand in the afternoon, ready for delivery the following day. For Mike, Christmas is about spreading joy to others and he particularly enjoys seeing his customers return every year for his award-winning iced Christmas cake recipe.
Card maker - Jade Downer - UK
Jade Downer, 25
Card maker, Tidy Print, Brighton (UK)


Brighton-based card maker Jade Downer co-founded Tidy Print, her screen printing studio and shop, with her partner Daniel Tomlinson just last year. Since opening, Jade has not only produced her own cards but offered Christmas card workshops to teach people the basics of screen printing.

During Jade’s workshops customers learn how to design their own Christmas cards. Using stencils, colour mixing and printing, they are given the opportunity to create personalised festive messages for their loved ones.
Rocking Horse maker - Julie Tuner - UK
Julie Tuner, 55
Rocking horse maker, The Rocking Horse Shop, York (UK)


Yorkshire’s Julie has been working at The Rocking Horse Shop since 1999. In those 18 years she has become a master in her craft making bespoke saddles and bridles for not only old and new rocking horses, but also for hobbyists who set out to make their own with the help of the plans supplied by the shop.

Orders for Christmas presents are taken as early as March, from families wanting a timeless, classic gift. Often old horses are brought in for restoration from people who want to recreate the delight of their beloved childhood possession and give their children the same enjoyment. Julie remarks that it’s a privilege to be able to be part of such a special gift and has also noticed a trend towards the gifting of presents that can be passed down through the generations – many people ask them to put special keepsakes and photos into the body of the horse as a time capsule.
Stocking maker - Tom Count - UK (1)
Tom Count, 18
Stocking maker, Santa Sacks, Lincolnshire (UK)


Tom Count works as a production assistant at Santa Sacks, where he spends his time printing and personalising vintage hessian sacks and stockings in time for Christmas. He ensures that every individual sack or stocking features the name of its eventual owner by printing the letters onto the products using a heat press. The finishing touches are added before they are carefully packaged up and wrapped in a bow before Tom ensures they are delivered on time for Christmas.

Tom sees his work as an opportunity to help others spread magic over the Christmas season with thoughtful, personalised gifts. He enjoys feeling part of a Christmas tradition that sees families buy a sack for their baby’s first Christmas, which they use year after year.
Christmas tree farmer - Anders Larsen - Denmark
Anders Larsen, Age 50
Christmas tree farmer, Faedres Gave, Copenhagen (Denmark)


Danish Christmas tree farmer Anders Larsen grew up on a small island 150km from Copenhagen, called Lolland. During the week Anders and his wife practise law in Copenhagen, but at the weekend they work on their Christmas tree farm and plantation. Anders and his wife purchased the Christmas tree farm two years ago and now run it as a family business.

Anders and his wife work all year to take care of the Christmas trees before they start preparing them for sale from November. They often call on their children and parents to help later in the year when the farm gets busy, and Anders sees the farm as an opportunity to bring his, and other families, together. It’s a Danish tradition for families to choose and cut down their Christmas tree as part of their festive preparation. He looks forward to seeing them cycle to the farm, spend the afternoon selecting their tree to then ride home on their bikes with their children and the Christmas tree strapped to the bike.
Reindeer handler - Upi Virkkula - Finland (1)
Upi Virkkula, 51
Reindeer handler, Salla Reindeer Park, Salla (Finland)


Upi Virkkula has worked as a reindeer handler in Salla, Finland, for almost two decades. He takes care of the reindeer all year – from planning safaris to arranging feeding trips and even visits to witness the majestic northern lights.

Upi describes Salla Reindeer Park as a unique escape for people to experience a different side of Christmas, and seizes the opportunity to introduce people to the beautiful Lappish nature. A highlight of his Christmas season is the park’s annual reindeer race – a traditional and popular sport in Lapland where visitors are encouraged to compete to secure the fastest time.
Toy Maker - Daniel Aust - Germany (1)
Daniel Aust, 43
Toy maker, Grimm’s Toys, Hochdorf (Germany)


German toy maker Daniel Aust has headed up the Grimm’s Toy workshop for the last 11 years. He combines creativity and craftmanship to produce handmade, natural and long lasting wooden toys and ensures the smooth running of the workspace, from overseeing his staff to taking responsibility for the technical and mechanical devices.

For Daniel, toy making is a way of bringing joy to a child at Christmas, as their play is such an important part of childhood. He enjoys hearing the wonderful stories from customers after they’ve bought a classic pull along or stacking toy as well as watching their child play with them for the first time.

HAVE A CRACKING DAY AT KEMPTON PARK RACECOURSE THIS CHRISTMAS

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This Christmas, Great British Racing encourages you to get out of the house and over to Kempton Park Racecourse for an unmissable Boxing Day with your family

From 16December to 2 January, there are over 60 fantastic race fixtures taking place all across the country at which under 18s go free*, meaning it’s the ideal time to get the whole family along to your local course.

Across the Christmas period, Boxing Day is one of the most thrilling race days in the calendar, with eight fixtures taking place including The 32Red Winter Festival at Kempton Park in Sunbury-on-Thames. What better way to burn off that turkey than a family day out at your local racecourse.

While down at the course, there’s plenty for kids to see and do, from visiting the pre-parade ring and winner’s enclosure, getting a jockey’s autograph, to watching a race next to a jump.

The gates will open at 10.00am on Boxing Day, with the first race scheduled for 12.45pm and the last at 3.40pm. It’s an absolute treat for top quality racing with no less than three Grade 1 races and plenty of festive fun for the whole family.

Head to www.under18sracefree.com to find your local fixture, watch Sara Cox’s Race Guide and find more fun racing activities for the kids this Boxing Day. *Check individual racecourse websites for more details

26 December Boxing Day Race Locations: Sedgefield Racecourse Wetherby Racecourse Market Rasen Racecourse Wolverhampton Racecourse Huntingdon Racecourse Wincanton Racecourse Fontwell Park Racecourse Kempton Park Racecourse
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Do celebrities have a moral obligation to come clean about plastic surgery?

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With the media being saturated with celebrities looking preened to perfection, we are often left wondering if they've had any extra help in the looks department.

Some celebrities who have come clean and confessed to using surgery or aesthetic methods to enhance their looks have come under fire for their decision not to be happy with who they are and appreciate the looks they were born with.

In this week's blog we hear from Chrissie Teigen, Ariel Winter and Sharon Osbourne who have all admitted to having cosmetic surgery, and their reasons for doing so. We also answer some questions that are commonly asked such as:

Why do people have cosmetic surgery?
Who should you tell when deciding on having cosmetic surgery?
Should you hide your surgery from your work?

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A VERY BERRY CHRISTMAS

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SILENT POOL DISTILLERS LAUNCHES TWO NEW SEASONAL SPIRITS

Silent Pool Distillers has extended its offering for Christmas with the introduction of two new seasonal spirits: the Albury Sloe Gin and Damson Gin. Both have been neatly handcrafted in the Surrey Hills distillery, ready to bring a touch of berry warmth to your festivities and offer the perfect gin-lovers’ gift this Christmas.

Just launched, the Albury Sloe Gin (£30 per 50cl) puts a modern twist on the traditional sloe recipe, with a slightly higher strength and the addition of a secret spice. Using less sugar than most other brands, the Sloe Gin expresses a delicious balance between the sweetness and classic tart finish from the fruit. Expect an initial hit of rich berry, followed by subtle notes of juniper and almond, ending on a pleasantly warm finish.

Sip your Sloe Gin from a hip flask on a long winter’s walk, enjoy it neat or poured over ice with an optional squeeze of lemon. Or better still, why not add a splash to your Christmas champagne?

Offering an equally tempting after-dinner tipple, the Damson Gin (£30 per 50cl) brings together sumptuous notes of ripe berry and plum, with hints of almond, juniper and a finishing note of vanilla. Crafted using damsons sourced from Kent, this flavorsome British classic is not to be missed from your festive drinks selection. Mix yours with lemon juice and soda for a classy Christmas Collins!

The new spirits join a whole host of handcrafted products on offer from Silent Pool Distillers this season; from innovative liquid garnishes to boozy Christmas crackers, scented candles, gin-infused salmon and its signature, award-winning Silent Pool Gin.

The Sloe Gin, Damson Gin and all other products crafted by Silent Pool Distillers are available to buy now at the distillery, or online at www.silentpooldistillers.com.