Ancient woodcraft lies behind Silent Pool distillers new Wry Vodka

Wry Vodka

Silent Pool Distillery has launched a new spirit embodying the key characteristic of the Surrey Hills – its woodland. Prepare for a cocktail with bite!

Wry Vodka is distilled a second time over rye malted specially for the Albury based distillery in one of the last surviving traditional floor maltings in the UK at Warminster. It is then filtered over charcoal cooked in a traditional kiln by local craftsman John Sinclair, creating a unique fusion of ancient skills.

“Charcoal has been made in the Surrey Hills for at least 2000 years,” said John, “But this is the first time it has been commissioned by a distillery for vodka production. It’s very exciting.”
Charcoal burner John Sinclair
Distiller Tom Hutchings visited John at his woodland base in the Sheepleas on the North Downs above Horsley. After a lot of research they chose hornbeam, one of the oldest and most sought after English tree species growing in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Hornbeam is the hardest of our native British hardwoods,” said John. “I selected specific trees and set up the kiln for a long slow 18 hour burn. It rested for a further 24 hours until it was cool enough to be bagged up and then we took it down to the distillery.”
Charcoal burning
Tom said he wanted the vodka to have a style of rye, but with the twist of being filtered over hornbeam: “It’s aimed at cocktails, to give a bit more character,” he said. “It has a tiny bit of bite which makes it more versatile and interesting to use in drinks. And our Wry vodka has a bit more punch than the others.”

So experiment with cocktails using Silent Pool Distillers Wry Vodka for a sophisticated urban take, ironically made using very ancient country crafts.

John Sinclair is a local legend keeping alive the ancient forest crafts in the Surrey Hills AONB – the most wooded area in England. He is part of the Sussex and Surrey Coppice Group sustaining traditional coppice woodland. A fund of information about all things woody, he can be contacted on

Wry Vodka is available from Silent Pool Distillery at

Dragonfly tea Short Story competition

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 17.08.46

Hugless Douglas creator David Melling and Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE will judge children’s entries in the 2016 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition

Award-winning author-illustrator David Melling – whose Hugless Douglas series has sold more than 1.4million copies in over 26 languages – has joined the judging panel for the second year of the competition hosted in partnership with the Henley Literary Festival.

Joining David in selecting the winners across three children’s age categories is television presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE DL – an actress, businesswoman, independent TV producer of award winning programmes, author of over 30 books and children’s television presenter, best known for appearing in or presenting many iconic TV programmes including Play School and Play Away. This year she steps down as Chancellor of Exeter University after ten years and is passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people. Speaking about the competition, Floella explained: “Creative writing is an amazing thing for young people to do – creating characters can teach so much about seeing the world through different eyes.”

Harriet Reed, Events Director at Henley Literary Festival added: “There’s so much going on for children at this year’s festival, from special Harry Potter and Roald Dahl events to a schools’ session with Julian Clary and an exclusive family event with Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain. It’s amazing to think that three budding young writers will have their share of the limelight and hear their stories read aloud by Helen Lederer at the award ceremony in October.”

Also announced this week is a partnership with Waitrose, who have nominated their central Henley store to collect children’s entries at the store’s Welcome Desk from Monday 8 July, via a specially designed competition box. Andrew Godman, Branch Manager at Waitrose Henley said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Henley Literary Festival this year and look forward to collecting all of the great stories entered into this year’s competition.”

A celebration of the intriguing and magical world of tea, this year’s theme for adult writers will be ‘Discovery’ – from grand voyages to everyday encounters, from inspiring inventions to quiet epiphanies – while children are asked to pen a tale of ‘Adventure’.

Writer and comedian Helen Lederer will judge adult entries alongside Daily Mail literary editor Sandra Parsons and acclaimed short story writer Irenosen Okojie, who is also set to host an intimate creative writing workshop at the Henley Literary Festival. Children’s entries will be judged by David Melling and Floella Benjamin.

Adult entrants are invited to write a story of up to 3,000 words, with the three winning entrants taking home prizes ranging from £250 to £1,500.

The children’s competition has three categories, each with a 500-word limit: 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15 years-old. The winner of each category set to receive £50-worth of book vouchers plus £100 in vouchers for their school.

To enter visit >>> closing date is 29 August 2016

Caracoli brings coffee culture to Haslemere

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 16.53.51

Award winning Coffee Shop and Food Store Caracoli are delighted to announce the opening of their fifth site in Haslemere, Surrey at the beginning of August.

The new stylish and contemporary store takes pride of place on Haslemere High Street in a prime location for busy shoppers.

Caracoli are proud of being a ‘destination store’ for customers in the home counties, who travel from far and wide to drink their outstanding coffee and enjoy their delicious food in Alresford, Winchester, Guildford and Farnham. Food and drink served by Caracoli is of an exceptionally high quality and freshness as it is prepared daily in their nearby kitchens using local produce and suppliers wherever possible. The Food store sells a myriad of specialist foods, local cheeses, wine, cooking accessories and food related gifts so customers can browse whilst enjoying their cappuccinos.
Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 16.56.29
Owner and Director Gail Nichols explains why Haslemere was the obvious choice for their fifth store opening, ‘ We have been looking for premises similar in size to our very first Caracoli in Alresford with sufficient space to combine our signature Coffee Shop with Food Store which aligns with our brand. Haslemere is ideally placed to expand our business and has always been one of the towns on our radar. The premises are perfectly situated in the centre of the High street and we are very excited to be coming to the town.’

With busy commuters in mind, Caracoli Haslemere will be open from 7.30 am Monday – Friday for early birds and school run mums. Delicious food such as the Avocado breakfast; smashed avocado on artisan sourdough topped with a poached egg, crispy local bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes and a pesto drizzle - will be served all day.
Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 16.56.13
Caracoli has won numerous food industry awards and each year their many food products have achieved one and two stars at the prestigious Great Taste Awards. Gail and her team are constantly looking to deliver exceptional customer service, boasting some of the best baristas in the business and they are looking forward to sharing their love of great food and coffee with the people of Haslemere.

Caracoli Haslemere will be open Monday to Saturday 7.30am – 5.00pm and Sunday 9.00am – 5.00pm and is located at 27 High Street, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2HG.

BBC Good Food Festival returns to Hampton Court Palace

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 18.28.55

The celebrated food festival returns to the palace’s formal gardens for three fabulous days this August Bank Holiday weekend

The BBC Good Food Festival is back for its third year, and will be held in the spectacular gardens of Hampton Court Palace.

Hosted in partnership with independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, and set over the three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend, it offers a great selection of delicious artisan producers, a stellar line up of cooks and chefs, fabulous entertainment, family fun and great, live music.

Comprising over 100 hand-picked artisan producers and companies, with everything from oysters to sausages, and brownies to crepes, the Festival is guaranteed to delight even the most committed foodie. Look out for Lomito, serving Argentine rib-eye steak sandwiches, or Borough Market’s Jumi Cheese, offering a selection of the finest Swiss emmental. There’s even guilt-free ice-cream from Oppo - complete with a superfood boost - all set against a backdrop of one of Britain’s most historic buildings.

A highlight of the Festival will undoubtedly be the 300 seat Summer Kitchen Theatre, which will play host to some of the biggest names in food. Join Paul Hollywood, John Torode and double Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. as they whip up a selection of summer dishes live on stage. Meanwhile, over at the Interview Stage, food lovers will be able to discover the secrets of their favourite chefs’ success as they share top tips and tales from their life in the kitchen, before taking questions from the audience. There’ll even be the chance for visitors to get some of their favourite cookbooks signed, with Lisa Faulkner and Michel Roux Jr. among those already confirmed.

Across the weekend, a fantastic live music programme will provide the perfect summer soundtrack, with the sassy trio of singers The Polka Dots, jive group Cody and the Retro Boys and jazz band Doolally Tap all playing from the bandstand. With Hampton Court Palace deckchairs – each of which bears a character from the palace’s past – dotted around the garden, it’s the perfect place to soak up the Festival atmosphere. For families, live circus show performances, circus skills workshops, face painting and the new Gnome Zone - an opportunity for families to uncover some of the hidden stories of the palace’s celebrated gardens as told through a trail of decorated gnomes created by artists and local community groups – promise to keep everyone entertained.

As Hampton Court celebrates its world-famous gardens throughout 2016, visitors to the festival will be encouraged to explore the palace’s stunning surroundings, with the world’s oldest puzzle maze, the largest grapevine on the planet and a new play garden; the Magic Garden, waiting to be discovered. Inside the palace, there’s an exhibition of Georgian landscapes once owned by Empress Catherine the Great, while in the Tudor kitchens, Hampton Court’s team of historic chefs will be cooking up a storm, roasting meat on the great fire and creating a meal fit for a King!

Laura Biggs, Managing Director of River Street Events comments, “We are delighted to host the BBC Good Food Festival for the third time in the stunning grounds of Hampton Court Palace. The last two years have been an overwhelming success and we continue to get bigger and better with more exhibitors and more big names, all who will be cooking live in the Summer Kitchen.”

Paul Gray, Director of Hampton Court Palace said, “We’re thrilled to be welcoming the BBC Good Food Festival back to Hampton Court, a palace synonymous with food and feasting. We’re lucky enough to have not only the world’s largest grapevine but a working kitchen garden and even a rare surviving Tudor Kitchen, and the festival is a fantastic addition to these treasures – even if just for one weekend!”

Tickets, which include entry to both Hampton Court Palace and the BBC Good Food Festival, are on sale now at:

Silver lining in the depressed silver market

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 18.11.28

Now is the time to buy a Silver bargin…

Currently there is one segment of the huge $63.8billion international market in art and antiques that is seriously depressed and which is due an inevitable correction – antique silver.

So now is a good time to buy antique silver objects, candelabra, dinnerware, snuff boxes, any kind of beautiful ornamental silver. “It’s a bargain at current prices,” says Pontus Silfvertoolpe, co-founder of Barnebys.

One of the greatest merits of Barnebys massive art and antiques database is its ability to track the values of the commodities it covers – art, antiques, wine, cars – some dozens of specialist collectable items.

Barnebys is the worlds largest and fastest growing art and antique search engine and covers 1,600 auction houses internationally, from the best known names in the business – Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips - to the local auction house near you.

As a result the company is constantly being asked what is hot and what is not, what is up and what is down in art and auctions sales. If you want to invest in art and antiques what should one be looking at?

From being one of the safest investments, something that always found a ready market, antique silver today is many times cheaper than its smelting value as ingots of silver. In the past, one’s fortune was often counted in silver, one of the oldest precious metals known. For most people it was their silver spoons that were the future pension, and a pair of well-polished candelabra from any of the great masters could be exchanged for a whole building in central London. Silver was therefore the first thing that was hidden or buried when the enemy attacked. Sadly this is not the case anymore.

This has had a terrible effect on beautiful antique silverware, much of it is being melted down and turned into silver bullion instead of existing as lovely antique and well functioning coffee pots, napkin rings, elaborate bread baskets, candelabra or other ornamental objects which used to grace the tables of the rich and famous.

A fine Georgian coffee pot in the 1980's would have sold for £1,500; today you can pick them up for £800 to £1,000. This poses the question, has antique silver become worthless?

The answer is no! The situation is not absolutely hopeless. There is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to antique silver and silver’s existence as beautiful objects. The generally prevailing trend in the secondary market is that quality still counts, regardless of category, materials or age. And this is true of silver. The best of the best continues to hold its value.

What people are particularly looking for today is the unusual object with provenance. For example a magnificent highly decorated soup tureen once owned by the sister of Queen Marie Antoinette, estimated to sell for £100,000 to £200,000 in fact sold for a staggering £447,000 at Bonhams.

Items in silver that are still sought after include wine coolers and wine strainers. These reach high prices in the collector communities, a non-price-sensitive audience around the world which certainly knows how to use them. Decorative silver is enjoying a renaissance when it finds an educated market from the US to China and the Middle East – particularly pieces in the Art Nouveau style.

So for those who are not impatient and have the time to wait, prices will probably rise within a few years. And for lovers of antique silver the bonus is that it can hardly be cheaper than it is today. And while this trend will in all likelihood continue down a bit further, it will recover and deliver a good return on your investment.

It is now time for new generations to start using silver again, to understand and appreciate the value of quality and durability and the intrinsic beauty of this ancient and much valued precious metal.

Because most silver works are currently melted down for their scrap value, we will see a higher interest and much higher prices for those items that survive the current smelting madness. Supply and demand will as ever have a rectifying effect.

So Barnebys would advise you to join us online and see who is holding serious silver auctions. There are bargains to be had out there that are both stunningly beautiful works of art and also quite often very functional as dinner services or as decorative objects with intriguing histories. Given that silver prices will doubtless rise again its investment value is another reason to buy silver.

Find out more at

Picture at top: Item sold for £447,000 at Bonhams.
THE SACHSEN-TESCHEN TUREEN, AN IMPORTANT LATE 18TH CENTURY AUSTRIAN SILVER SOUP TUREEN AND STAND, by Ignaz Josef Wurth Vienna 1781, stand and liner 1780, and early 19th century Austrian control marks. Provenance: Albert Casimir (1732-1822), 6th son of Elector Frederick August II of Saxony, created Duke of Teschen on his marriage in 1766 to Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria (1742-1798), 4th daughter of Emperor Franz I and Empress Maria Theresa and sister to Marie Antoinette.

Five ways to feel younger with Dr. Hilary Jones

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 17.51.30

Dr. Hilary’s top tips for feeling younger than your years

“My philosophy is that we are all still kids at heart, only older. It is important to stay curious about new things and have fun! We don’t stop laughing when we die; we die when we stop laughing!” Dr. Hilary Jones.

1 Train your brain! There’s a lot you can do to keep your memory in good shape and your brain firing. Consider a new hobby that you can enjoy with your partner or friends. Competition keeps you keen! Test yourself with crosswords or Sudoku, or why not learn a new language or take up a musical instrument! Even driving a new route to work can wake up sleepy brain cells.

2 Keep your senses sharp! New research by Hidden Hearing reveals that enjoying quality time with friends and family is what makes us feel our youngest and happiest. Despite this, over half of people in the UK have noticed thier hearing has declined, and 2 in 5 people find socialising in larger groups harder than they used to due to background noise. Take advantage of a free hearing test at one of Hidden Hearing’s high street hearing centres to ensure no hearing loss goes undiagnosed. Visit (going live 25 July).

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 17.54.10
3 Get out in the fresh air! Getting outside and enjoying a brisk walk in the fresh air is one of the most effective natural energisers - helping to boost circulation, increase feel-good endorphins and strengthen bones and muscles. Walking also benefits our brain health – studies show that walking 6 miles or more per week can help prevent dementia and preserve memory.

4 Get your zzz’s is the simplest way to feel younger right now. Chances are you’re not getting as much as you need so cut-out caffeine after 3pm and try turning in early enough to get 8 hours of good quality sleep. You’ll feel the difference in a matter of days and have more energy and fewer dark circles to boot!

5 Keep laughing! We’re still kids at heart with the same basic need for love, laughter and excitement but sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of it as the stress of modern life overwhelms us. It’s never been easier to stay in touch with family and friends, and doing so can actually be good for your health so why not make time to rekindle the camaraderie of old friends, engineer a few belly laughs and let your hair down!

To book a free hearing test and for more details on hearing loss, visit (going live 25 July) or call 0800 037 2060.

Exclusive Shooting Event for Londoner's

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 16.25.40

Friday 16 & Saturday 17 September 2016

The London Shooting Show on the 16 and 17 of September is an invitation only exclusive event showcasing the best of British game shooting.
Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 17.18.13
Expect to see a lot of tweed and beautiful fashion alongside the finest English craftsmanship employed to make the finest guns. Experience the thrill of firing a large calibre rifle or shoot a Purdey shotgun at clay pigeons at this event filled show. Only 40 minutes from the centre of London.
Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 17.17.54
The British countryside comes to London in September so - Aim To Be There!

Book your invitation here through

Windsor Festival to celebrate centenary birth of Founder, Yehudi Menuhin

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 15.07.07

Annual arts festival celebrations to focus on centenary of the birth of Festival Founder Yehudi Menuhin, The Queen’s 90th Birthday and Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

Windsor Festival, the highly respected annual arts festival, will be located within and around the grounds of Windsor Castle taking place from 18 September 2016 to 2 October 2016. This year the Festival programme observes three significant anniversaries: The centenary of the birth of Yehudi Menuhin, one of the founding artistic directors of the Festival, The Queen’s 90th Birthday and Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.

The centenary of the birth of Yehudi Menuhin is marked by three concerts in the Waterloo Chamber featuring violin concertos:

• On Thursday, 22 September in Centenary of Yehudi Menuhin: Mozart, Violinist Tasmin Little is joined by the English Chamber Orchestra in the Waterloo - Chamber, Windsor Castle, where she will play Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in D major

• On Saturday, 24 September, Centenary of Yehudi Menuhin: The Four Seasons includes Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending – all famous works which are central to the violin repertoire. The concert will take place in the Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle

• On Tuesday, 27 September, The Philharmonia, Windsor Festival’s Associate Orchestra visit us with the supreme violinist Vadim Repin in Centenary of Yehudi Menuhin: Bruch. The Philharmonia will perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s masterpiece, the Pastoral Symphony in the Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle.

The Queen’s 90th Birthday has been celebrated widely, but we bring our own tribute to Her Majesty through music:

• A special concert, “Celebrating The Queen’s 90th Birthday” will take place on Monday, 26 September at 19:30 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The concert is a unique gathering of choirs, all with special links to The Queen, with a popular programme of music inspired by and featured in Her Majesty’s life.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 15.07.36
Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary is celebrated in a multitude of ways with discussions and walking tours, as well as through the music inspired by his plays:

“Shakespeare and Windsor: A 400th Anniversary Walk” will take place on Monday, 19 September at 10:30am starting at the Royal Windsor Information Centre. Accompanied by our expert guides, this walk visits locations in Windsor associated with Shakespeare and his play The Merry Wives of Windsor, a story of marriage, wealth, jealousy and lies, all brought to life with appropriate literary quotations along the way.

“Romeo and Juliet through Music” will take place on Tuesday, 20 September in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle at 19:30. The work of William Shakespeare has stimulated composers throughout the last 400 years. In the magnificent surroundings of St George’s Chapel, the exceptionally talented orchestra Orpheus Sinfonia will bring their own abundant enthusiasm and energy to this fabulous programme, featuring some of the foremost examples of his legacy.

Martin Denny, Windsor Festival Director, said: “This year Windsor Festival is particularly special as we have the honour of celebrating the centenary of the birth of Yehudi Menuhin, one of the founding artistic directors of the Festival, and the inspiration behind our International String Competition. In particular, the three centenary concerts, performed by the best violinists in the world, brings a new level of programming to the Festival. I hope that you will find much in the fortnight which attracts and delights you, and I look forward to enjoying these festivities with you.”

For a full list of this year’s programme and to book tickets, please visit: or follow @WindsorFestival on Twitter.

Snows Kia invites local residents to meet the Kia Women’s Super League Stars

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 21.19.38

Snows Kia invites residents in and around Guildford to join the dealership and the cricket stars of the Surrey Stars for a family fun meet and greet on Thursday July 28 ahead of the Kia Women’s Super League launch.

Families will enjoy a meet and greet with cricket stars such as England player and Surrey Stars captain Tammy Beaumont as well as international star Rene Farrell. Guests will also get the chance to be coached in mini cricket lessons with the Surrey Stars coaches and enjoy food and drink along with a bouncy castle. Snows Kia are also giving attendees the exciting chance to win tickets to the Super League matches on the day.

The Kia Women’s Super League brings together the very best women cricketers from around the UK with a handful of international stars to play in the UK. Kia’s partnership with The England and Wales Cricket Board represents the first ever standalone title sponsorship for a domestic women’s cricket competition in England.

President and CEO of Kia Motors (UK) Paul Philpott says: “We are very proud to be able to expand on our sponsorship of women’s cricket. Being able to support the game at a domestic level within the UK ensures that the future of women’s cricket, and security for up and coming players, is there.”

The Snows Guildford Kia family fun cricket session will take place on July 28 from 5pm – 7pm at Guildford Cricket Club, Woodbridge Rd, Guildford GU1 4RP.

Follow Kia at

About Kia Motors UK Ltd
Kia Motors Corporation was founded in Korea in 1944, and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. The brand came to the UK in 1991 and has continued to grow ever since, now operating through 188 dealerships throughout the country. Kia Motors UK Ltd is currently the ninth largest volume vehicle manufacturer as measured by vehicle sales, with the brand aiming to sell 100,000 cars a year by 2020 in the UK. The UK is now Kia’s biggest market in Europe and fifth largest globally.

In 2016, Kia Motors UK opened a new port operation in Stallingborough, which allows the brand to fit vehicles to buyers’ specification before distribution to the dealer network, and is able to process up to 120,000 cars a year.

The Killers artist's latest works

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 17.05.42

After winning Rolling Stones Best Album Art of the Year award for his album art for The Killers Uk NO.1 album, Paul Normansell is back with recent stunning paintings of Cara Delevingne and Lana Del Ray

Paul Normansell painted the album art for The Killers No.1 album "Day and Age" which sold 2.4 million copies worldwide and Rolling Stone called "The Best Album Art of 2008." MTV called Paul's art the best album art of the decade. NME nominated it as Best Album Art of 2008. Paul was Man of the Month in April 2010's GQ Magazine, photographed by the legendary David Bailey.

To see Paul's latest work please visit

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 17.06.16

Restoration of Sandycombe Lodge


Turner’s House restoration now well underway

Restoration of Sandycombe Lodge, JMW Turner’s Twickenham country villa, has now begun. With the building fully scaffolded and wrapped against noise and dirt, and a team of specialist contractors well underway, progress has reached an exciting phase.

As well as much work on the fabric of the building, some fascinating discoveries have been made. A number of items from a later occupation than Turner’s have been found in a wall space, including a boot, toys, an 1851 plant list and a tiny glove. The most exciting part of this find is a fragment of wallpaper from Turner’s time and very close to a scrap found at Jane Austen’s house, which is of a similar date to Sandycombe. It is planned that this be meticulously re-created.

Further information about paint finishes is also emerging through paint analysis. The lovely roof light on the stairwell has been removed to be carefully cleaned and conserved.

The design team, which now includes heritage consultants Annabel Westman and Dr Jacqueline Riding, is working to establish the appearance of the interior. “We want visitors to enjoy the building itself, as a work by Turner, so shall not be seeking to fill it to the brim,” explained Catherine Parry-Wingfield, chairman of Turner’s House Trust. “Accounts of Sandycombe in Turner’s time are fairly sparse, but we are supplementing this by looking at the inventory of Turner’s London house, taken after his death in 1851, and seeking out items which were old-fashioned by that date.

“We are also working with a digital interpretation team to develop sensitive ways in which modern technology can enhance the experience of 21st century visitors.”

The budget of £2.4m has been achieved by Turner’s House Trustees, thanks to substantial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, many other funding organisations and generous public donations. However, this did not cover everything and the Trustees still need to raise at least a further £100,000 to realise the full ambition of the project. If you would like to support us in this inspiring work, please donate visit here

Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine