Feature - Aspire Magazine

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Feature - Aspire Magazine

The National Home Improvement ShowThe UltimateHomeImprovement ShowReturns For TheFourth YearTo A New Venue– Olympia,LondonMake Your House A Home WithWest Barn Country InteriorsEstablished in October 2011, West Barn Country Interiors is the brain-child of SueKirk-Patrick. Based in the lovely village of Gayton, Northamptonshire, West BarnCountry Interiors specialise in hand-painted furniture, household and gardenaccessories and linens all of which will transform your house into a home.Sue told Aspire: “I’ve always painted furniture and have been selling my own handpaintedfurniture at local shows and markets for many years, but I decided to take theplunge and set up my website when I realised there was a gap in the market. West BarnCountry Interiors offers a range of hand-painted furniture as well as a range of homeaccessories chosen for their practicality and style. Each piece of furniture is individualbecause they’re all hand painted by me. Distressed paint finishes are used to softenor give texture to tired furniture and create that French country feel, creating uniquepieces for your kitchen, bedroom, dining room or lounge in soft powdery greens,antique whites or duck egg blue. I use chalk-based paints from the Annie Sloan range“As well as an existing range, I am also happy to take on individual pieces of furniturefrom customers who like their existing furniture but want to revamp it; it’s so frustratingwhen you have a table or wardrobe that’s served you well, and is still in very goodcondition, but no longer complements your room. I provide a redesign service whichinvolves sanding and re-painting the piece of furniture to suit your new décor.The UK’s leading event for home improvers, TheNational Home Improvement Show, is returningfor its fourth consecutive year to a new home,Olympia, London from 28th – 30th September2012. Aimed at the serious home improver, theshow brings visitors an unrivalled selection ofideas, inspiration and expert advice to help themtake the next step with their home improvementproject. The show has grown significantly andboasts a number of brand new features, includingfree interior design classes at The Design School,care of Susan Llewellyn, founder of The SusanLlewellyn Academy of Interior Design, one to oneadvice at the Renewable Energy Advice Clinicand real life case studies at The InspirationalInteractive Café. There are hundreds of exhibitorsand experts for you to meet and thousands ofinnovative products for you to see – all packedinto three days under the one roof!Oliver Heath, star of BBC’s Changing Rooms’, specialises inenvironmentally sustainable architecture and eco interiorsand will be joining the celebrated line up of experts thisyear. He brings his years of experience to the show toprovide new inspiration for visitors and to help solvepeople’s design dilemmas. Other experts include MichaelHolmes (Real Homes editor in chief, formerly presenterof ‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’); Julia Kendell (DIY SOS andITV1’s Daybreak); Matt James (Designer and expert onITV’s Love Your Garden); Roger Hunt (renovation expertand co-author of Old House Handbook) and DouglasKent (Expert in period properties, renovations and homeimprovements).The Susan Llewellyn Academy of Interior Design Schoolarea will offer a packed programme of insightful seminarsand workshops on how to create your perfect home.“As well as bespoke service, we also stock home accessories from well-known namesincluding Garden Trading, Cox and Cox, Biggie Best, which is a new range from SouthAfrica, Parlane, Polie Pottery, a lovely new range of pottery from Poland, and manymore. I’m starting to get a lot of items in for Christmas 2012, including a wonderful andextensive range of hearts, bell hearts and baubles from Parlane, which would make agreat addition to any tree this festive season.”West Barn Country Interiors deliver across the whole of the UK, within three workingdays. West Barn Country Interiors are offering Aspire readers 15% off their first onlineorder when quoting ‘image1’ at the checkout – visitwww.westbarncountryinteriors.co.uk to claim your special offer.Finally Sue added: “Everything I stock is very different; it’s all been hand selected byme for its uniqueness. I didn’t want to stock items that were readily available in othershops on the High Street. I think it is difficult to beat the individuality of aged and rusticpieces.”For more information, please call Sue on 01604 858328 or 07920 578089West Barn Country Interiors, West Barn, Tiffield Road, Gayton, Northants NN7 3HHOpen Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm & Saturday, 10am to 5pmAn Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukThe Design School is supported by a dedicated InteriorsVillage that brings together products and services toprovide those important finishing touches to completeyour project and provide that wow factor.The Inspirational Interactive Café is a new hands-onfeature offering specialist top tips and real life case studiesfrom award winning homes, easily accessible via touchscreens. Hear first-hand from successful renovators abouttheir experiences, discover fantastic home designs andunderstand extension, conversion or home improvementprocess.Get inspired for any project from extensions torefurbishment and renovation with the help of the show’shome improvement experts on hand throughout theshow in The Advice Centre. For one-on-one guidance,bring your plans along to see how simple improvementscan help create your dream home. There will also betwo Real Homes Live! Theatres offering daily in-depthseminars.Returning features this year include the Smart AdviceClinic sponsored by CEDIA, the Kitchen and BathroomInspiration Zone brought to you by Kitchen Bedroom &Bathroom magazine, The Gardening and LandscapingZone sponsored by Alec White Garden Design, Tricks ofthe Trade by resident DIY Doctor, the Masterclass Theatreand Real Homes Live! Theatres offering daily in-depthseminars.Tickets are £8 if booked in advance and £12 on door.For more information on the show, exhibitors,seminar schedules and tickets visitwww.improveyourhomeshow.co.uk or call theticket hotline on 0844 581 0802A Secure Roof AboveYour Head, FromE.G Est 1964Swingler & SonsRoofing SpecialistsEstablished in 1964 by Eric GeorgeSwingler, EG Swingler & Sonsis a family-run roofing companyspecialising in the repair andrestoration of period and Listedproperty roofs. Today, the companyis under the management of Eric’sson, Rob, daughter-in-law, Cheryl,and grandson, Jamie, who joined thecompany six years ago after gaininghis carpentry qualifications.Jamie told Aspire: “We can do everything,from small repairs to full re-roofs on allkinds of houses, from terraced properties tostately homes. We specialise in natural slateand clay tile roofs (sourced as locally aspossible) on period and Listed buildings anddo all the lead work and guttering ourselves,ensuring work is completed not only to thenature of the existing structure, but also toan exceptionally high standard. We’ve beenestablished for almost 50 years and in thattime have built up an enviable reputationfor high quality and standards as well asa personal service. We’re happy to carryout a range of work, including lead works,insurance/grant work, domestic works andtreatments, site/commercial work, fittingVELUX windows and undertaking minorrepairs, guttering works and any re-pointingand re-building of chimney stacks.”Working mainly throughoutNorthamptonshire, Leicestershire,Warwickshire and Oxfordshire, EG Swingler& Sons will carry out a site visit to accessthe job before proving a written quotation onthe work required. The EG Swingler & Sonsteam features experienced and qualifiedcraftsmen who have worked with Jamie andRob for many years. Jamie added: “Anynew members who join our team are taughtby our experienced professionals and aretaught about the importance of being bothprofessional and ambitious in all areas oftheir work. We’ve been running for such along time and have such a good name withinthe industry, we must be doing somethingright!”For more information, or to book a site visit from amember of the EG Swingler & Sons team, please call01604 833500 or visit www.swinglerroofing.co.ukHome Farm StovesDesigner, contemporary & traditionalwood & multi-fuel stoves from England &Europe’s leading manufacturers.• Superb quality for a long andtrouble-free life. Highly efficientand carbon neutral when burningwood.• Far lower heating costs for youevery winter. Around 30 stovesnormally on display in widerange of sizes, styles and colours.• Boiler stoves available thatconnect into your water heatingsystem.• Family owned company.No Chimney? Live in a smokeless zone?We have solutions that allow you to havea real log stove burning logs.HETAS installation service, flues,genuine spares, accessories & repairs.We do it all and are well worth a visit.01327 8434008 High Street, Long BuckbyPlease ring for a chat and our opening times.www.homefarmstoves.co.uk8 ASPIREASPIRE 9

BusinessAn Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukAn Alternative ChristmasBusinessFocusThe British Chambersof Commerce (BCC) haspredicted that UK GDPwould shrink by 0.4% in2012 and has called formore government spendingon infrastructure. The BCCsaid the eurozone crisis anda sharp rise in food and oilprices posed a continuingthreat to the UK economy.It has also cut its forecastfor 2013, from 1.9% to 1.2%growth.Over the last three years, ournation has been transformed. Nolonger are we a nation of musthave-nowshopaholics; everyone iswatching every penny they spendand businesses across the countryare suffering.This nationwide penny-watchinghas dealt a devastating blow toindependent, local businesses,which are also closing at analarming rate, particularlyin smaller market towns.The Commission for RuralCommunities, a governmentwatchdog, has found that Britain’s1,600 market towns have been theworst hit by the unstable economicclimate, where the number ofvacant shop units has increased by40% - causing tremendous damageto the local economy.You only need to take a strollaround your town or city to see theaftermath of the worst economiccrisis for more than two decades.However, there are ways that youcan help your local, independentbusinesses survive. By choosingto shop or employ the services oflocal and independent companies,you can help them to flourish.You may also find that choosingthem over national chains is toyour benefit, as you are treatedto a more personal service. Sowhether you’re looking to makeimprovements to your home,enjoy a romantic meal out, or findoffice supplies for your own localbusiness, we’d like to encourageyou to support independentbusinesses in and around theAspire region!If you own your own business,the advice from the British RetailConsortium is for independentcompanies to create their owndistinct identity and focus onincorporating local character. Thiswill ensure you offer somethingtruly unique that other, rivalcompanies do not and encouragecustomers to use your services andgoods.It’s The Most WonderfulTime Of The YearYou might not be ready to think about ityet, but now that the last Bank Holidayof the year is behind us, it’s time to turnyour attention towards Christmas. Withjust over 15 weeks to go until Santa paysus his annual visit, the countdown toChristmas has begun.Over the last few years, we’ve becomemore aware of the cost of Christmas. We’reall under pressure to shower our children,partners and parents with lavish gifts anda feast fit for a king, but the reality is thatsplashing the cash, without consideringthe eye-watering grand total, will end upcosting you well into the New Year andbeyond. In fact, Moneysupermarket.comhave calculated that clocking up £500 ona credit card featuring an average APR if18.12% may take an agonising 11 yearsand eight months to pay off if only theminimum repayment of 2.5% is paid eachmonth. In the meantime, you’ll have paidan extra £477 in interest along the way. It’sgot to make you wonder, is it worth it?If you want to avoid paying for one day ofthe year for more than a decade then thekey is in your planning. By starting yourChristmas planning now, you can look tospread the cost over the next three or sopay days. With a third of Britons vowingto reduce the amount of cash they splashon gifts this year, according to a survey bycomparison website Uswitch, it’s vital wefind gifts that are affordable, thoughtfuland will be well received. Instead ofspending money on expensive gifts, thelatest must-have or novelty toys that willbe forgotten about as soon as the holidaysare over, why not think about making acharity donation on behalf of a loved onefor Christmas 2012. This is one gift that issure to bring a sense of pride for both youand your relative. From adopting an animalto donating a monthly amount, everylittle helps. If you really want your lovedone to have a gift to open on Christmasmorning then why not choose an item thathas been produced by a charity, such as acalendar, stationary set or t-shirt.If you fancy a relaxing Christmas, whynot let someone else take the strain andorder your Christmas feast from Charnia,who will drop off a ready-to-cook mealfor you and your family. Nothing soundsbetter than having your Christmas dinnerprepared for you and enjoying it withfriends and family.Stretton IT Services have the practical knowledgeand expertise, built up over many years, to solve yourfrustrating computer problems. Put simply, Stretton IT isthe helpline you wished you had in the first place!Call 0116 2714616 or visitwww.stretton-it.co.uk for more information.10 ASPIREAwarded Certificateof RecognitionCatering for all your IT needs, from repairs tomaintenance for homes, businesses and dentalpractices, Stretton IT Services, based in Oadby,Leicestershire provides an excellent service witha friendly smile. Talking a jargon-free languageyou can understand, Stretton IT can help whetheryou have a problem with your home desktop PC,laptop power socket or need a data network foryour business. The brain-child of civil engineer,Harbinder Bhogal, Stretton IT provides fast andefficient IT support for families and businessesacross Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.It’s not hard to see why Aspire have selectedStretton IT for a Certificate of Recognition for ITSolutions. Aspire Sales Manager, Stacey Wragg,said: “Anyone who owns a computer will knowhow frustrating it is when something goes wrong,or when you buy a new printer and simply wantto install it and get printing. Having someonelike Harbinder come to your home and explainwhat has gone wrong and why, in an easy tounderstand way with no technical terms, isessential for good computer maintenance. Aspirehave been so impressed with what Harbinderoffers that we’ve enlisted him to take care of thecomputers in our office.”Providing help with Apple or Windows products,as well as solutions to problems with the internet,routers, printers, scanners and cameras, StrettonIT can do anything and everything to do withyour computer, at your home or remotely.Harbinder said: “The majority of my work, I’d say90%, is referrals from satisfied customers whoare happy to recommend me to their friends andfamily. I’m happy to help domestic customerswith simple problems, such as broken screens,faulty power leads or even virus removal. I ampassionate about helping home users to use theirinternet-connected safely, whether they want toinstall parental filters for their children, or theywant to ensure internet banking is safe. I alsooffer back-up solutions to ensure personal data,such as photos and videos, are never lost in theevent of a hard drive malfunction.“I offer a full range of business IT services,from new network and system installations tomanaged support and disaster recovery services.I’m geared up to help businesses of any size,from a one-man band to businesses with 50or so computers. As well as maintenance andmanaging networks and servers, I can also boltdown computers to ensure users can only use theinternet on them outside of work hours. I’m alsohappy to provide advice for start-up businessesto ensure they buy the right equipment now, sothey don’t have to buy new IT equipment as theirbusiness expands.”Christmas is a time for family, a time forgiving and a time for relaxing. But, often,the gift buying trips, the supermarket chaosand the stress of feeding the whole familyon Christmas Day can take their toll. Whynot make 2012 the year you really relax byenlisting the services of Charnia, a Leicesterbasedcompany who promise to deliver a highquality, freshly prepared Christmas dinnerstraight to your door, so all you have to do isput it in the oven and enjoy!Founded 18 months ago by MalcolmRollings, Charnia specialise in deliveringhigh quality, locally sourced and freshlyprepared meals to your door. Malcolm toldAspire: “I’ve spent my working life in hotelsand restaurants and three years ago, I wasworking for an outside catering companywhen I realised there was a gap in themarket for delicious food delivered direct tocustomers doors.“I know how stressful all that foodpreparation can be at Christmas time, ontop of the gift buying and general chaos ofA DeliciousChristmas WithoutThe Hasslethe festive season,so I thoughtit’d be a greatidea to offerpeople acrossLeicestershire andBespoke gifthampersavailableonline SOONNorthamptonshire a drop off service.I drop off ready-to-go, freshly preparedmeals that simply have to be placed in theoven; no hassle, no stress, just delicious,locally sourced food that’s great value formoney, because you won’t overindulge andbuy more food than you need. I can doas much or as little as customers require,from a simple turkey dinner, right up to afour-course meal with starters, desserts andvegetarian options. Christmas lunch fromCharnia is for a minimum of six peopleat £13 per head for a simple turkey maincourse.”As well as Christmas Day lunch, Malcolmalso offers weekly Sunday lunches direct toyour door and wedding/party catering atyour venue, including hog roasts and sitdowndinners. He’s also happy to come intoyour home and cook the food for you!Tel: 07796 273453 | Web: www.charnia.co.ukRegistered Charity Number: 1117234Make a donation in the name of aloved one this ChristmasTiger Awareness is a UKcharity that helps at groundlevel in India. We help in man- animal conflict working withlocal NGOs and supportingforest departments.You can find out more about our work or donate atwww.tigerawareness.co.uk. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.ASPIRE 11

Health & Well-beingIt’s official; Britain has become a nationof stress heads. Faced with hectic workinglives, money worries and the pressure tobe the perfect parent, it can be hard toovercome the issues that cause us stress.According to a recent study by RescueRemedy, stress can be brought on by justabout anything and is likely to affect us allat some point. The herbal treatment brandsurveyed 2,372 people and discovered that99% of people felt stressed out at somepoint every single day.If this sounds like you, don’t panic, Aspirehave some top tips that may help youdiscover a calmer, happier you:• Exercise – giving the brain a natural boost,exercise produces endorphins which floodthe body and create a natural high, andas a result help to ward off stress. Yoga isone exercise that’ll keep you fit, as well asleaving you feeling calm and tranquil.• Laugh – often described as the bestmedicine, laughter has been known toreduce tension and improve the health ofyour heart, so watch some stand-up comedyor spend some time with someone whoreally makes you laugh.• Sleep – a lack of shut eye can result in darkmoods and short tempers, but regularlygetting less than six hours sleep a night hasalso been linked to an increased risk of TypeFeel Good,Inside & Out2 diabetes and heart disease.• Treat Yourself – from a new hair cut/colourto a fake tan, or a manicure to massage,find a way to boost your confidence; thinknon-food related treats to avoid stressweight gain.• Change your life – whether it’s workrelated,brought on by money worriesor caused by problems in a relationship,confronting the source of your stressand taking steps to change it can alteryour stress levels significantly. There arenumerous ways to beat stress the naturalway, including placing two drops of anuplifting essential oil, like neroli, in acandle burner, or adding four drops toyour bath. If that doesn’t work, think aboutalternative therapies, such as crystal healing,reflexology, reiki or even acupuncture.Elemis, Britain’s No.1 Spa& Skincare Brand,Comes To BirstallImprove Your Quality of Lifewith The Healing WorksMore people than ever before are nowturning to holistic, complementarytherapies to help with their anxiety,emotional issues and pain management;these treatments are also becomingincreasingly popular with those looking tounwind and de-stress. With acupunctureclinics in Daventry and Southam, TheHealing Works offers a range of therapieswhich can help you to live a healthier andmore enjoyable life.Founder, Brian Pollitt, told Aspire: “Itake a holistic look at you as the uniquehuman being that you are, and tailormakea treatment plan just for you. Whenseeking complementary medicine thereare so many choices today. My primarytherapies are based on the principles ofChinese Medicine, which are acupuncture,moxabustion, cupping and dietaryadvice. I am a fully qualified and licensedacupuncturist, and a member of the BritishAcupuncture Council.“At The Healing Works I work hard to helpyou take control of your life. Although yourtreatment will be focused on your primarycondition, I can offer advice and guidanceon the various lifestyle choices whichwill have contributed to you becomingwho you are today. This means looking atboth your physical and emotional health,and may include dietary advice, exercise,meditation, and so on, all of which will beaimed at achieving a better balance in allthat you do. I treat a wide range of issuesbut I would say at least half of my patientscome to me for help with anxiety, stressand pain management. However, I can helpwith numerous conditions that Westernmedicine does not have a great deal ofsuccess with, including fertility problems.”Brian offers a free, no obligation,informal chat, either in person oron the phone, to help you decideif the therapies he offers are likelyto help you. Acupuncture costs £40per treatment but Brian is offeringa fantastic £10 discount for Aspirereaders who quote ‘ASP275’ whenbooking. For more information, visitwww.thehealingworks.net or call07772 010081.Call Be Beau today to make yourappointment to be pampered –0116 3677305Be Beau, 76 Front Street, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4DPShapes Hairdressing: 0844 445 7540Be Beau offers a wide range of treatments, including:• Elemis Face & Body Treatments• Sienna X Spray Tanning• Shellac, Minx and Jessica® GELeration Nail Treatments• Vertical Sun-shower Room (220 watt new lamps)• Indian Head Massage• Full Body or Back Massage• Luxury Honey Waxing• Threading• Hollywood EyelashesAn Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukBecome Who YouREALLY WantTo BeLouiseNesbethLouise Nesbeth works with clientsof all ages and situations, as a coach,educator and therapist, assistingthem in fulfilling their potential,achieving goals, removing blocks,improving health and well-beingand finding happiness.Her philosophy is one ofencouraging clients to develop anduse their creativity and personalpower, and she teaches techniquesthat enable clients to helpthemselves far into the future.Louise uses a wide range of skillsand techniques, from the mundaneto the esoteric, including: Quantumlinguistics, dance, poetry, NLP,Time-Line Therapy, Hypnosis,Emotional Freedom Technique, Reiki,Shamanism, archetypal branding,coaching and breakthroughsessions. She works with businessesand private individuals.Contact details:Tel: 07748 872166Email: louisenesbeth@virginmedia.comLooking for clarity or direction in life?Perhaps you want to change yourcircumstances or career for something morefulfilling? Some of you will already knowwhat you want but have barriers or fearsthat are stopping you from going for it ormaybe a barrier is that you do not know howto get there. Others of you may not knowwhat you want. Whatever your gender, age,background or current circumstances, hereare three practical tips used by a number oftop-notch life coaches that will help:Tip #1 - Ask yourself what you really want outof lifeNow, note the words, ‘what you really want’. Thisis not what you think you ought to want or whatother people want, it is what you want. Let yourimagination soar unrestricted. Your mind doesnot know bounds of time or space, so liberateit – let it fly free! At this stage, any idea is welcome.It does not matter how crazy or unrealistic theideas may seem. Let the thoughts, sounds andimages flow and then write them down. Giveyourself permission to play with ideas. What wecreate in our lives begins with thoughts, butmagic happens when we write those thoughtsdown! This is a fundamental step in manifestingwhat you want - on paper the thought has gotan observable, physical form and is now closer tobecoming reality.Tip #2 – Find and acknowledge your talentsEver heard the saying, ‘every dog has its day’?Well, this is true for all of us. From birth to thecurrent day, we have all experienced momentswhen we stood out for a positive reason or whenwe felt good about an achievement or whenwe particularly enjoyed an experience. It couldhave been that time when you did well in a testor when you enjoyed making something. It doesnot matter what it is. These experiences holdBy Louise Nesbeth - louisenesbeth@virginmedia.comTime For Youthe key to your potential strengths, talents andfuture sources of fulfilment. Write down theseexperiences, incorporating details about theexperience and its context. For example: Who wasaround you? What were the circumstances? Whatspecifically was the achievement or the enjoyableexperience? Look for patterns and, ‘coincidences’.Trust me, they’ll be there. These clues can beused to form the basis of your purpose in life.If you have not already realised it, it is time toacknowledge that you are unique: there is onlyone you on the whole planet and therefore noone else can fulfil your role.Tip #3 – Work through what is stopping youWe all have fears or psychological blocks to agreater or lesser extent at some time in our lives– it is part of being human. Fears can be a greatally if we can learn how to unlock their language.Practising the following free association exercisewill release the unconscious aspects of a fear orblock that has been holding you back:• Choose an issue which is causing you a problemor about which you have a fear, e.g. ‘money’, or‘not being confident enough’.• Grab a pen and paper and write down whatmoney is, e.g. money is good, money is fat, moneyis bad, money is sad, money is being on time,money is nothing - do not think too hard, or worryabout statements making sense, just let the ideasflow and if you reach a point where words repeator have dried up just push through and continue,even if you have to write the same statementover and over again. Eventually, your unconsciousmind will take over and you might be verysurprised by what comes out. This exercise can goon for sheets and sheets so be prepared!• Repeat the exercise, but this time, write whatmoney, for example, is not.• Read through your sheets and notice what theunconscious connections are with your originalfear or barrier. Often, this new insight is enough totake the fear out of the fear!Here To HelpCounselling in a relaxed & confidential environment to exploreemotional issues including:• Abuse • Bereavement & loss• Relationship • Stress & anxiety• Youth counsellingCounsellor- Mandy Blades - Market Harborough• Diploma in PCT • Member MBACPTel: 01858 431378 | Mob: 07732 438560Email: mandy.blades@gmail.com14 ASPIREASPIRE 15

Yorkshire’s FinestAn Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukDiscover Yorkshire Your WayWhether you are looking for a seaside holidaydestination, somewhere to go for a great day outthis autumn or a cosmopolitan weekend break,Yorkshire has it all…CoastWhitby is one of the UK’s favourite places to visit alongYorkshire’s Heritage Coast, and the ominous Abbey issimply not to be missed. The view of the mist hoveringover Whitby’s Abbey is rumoured to have inspired BramStoker to write ‘Dracula’ and there is a museum to discovermore about this celebrated writer. For truly mouthwateringfish and chips, The Magpie Café is hard to beatand usually has a queue of hungry diners waiting outsideevery day during high season.Scarborough has everything you’d expect of a traditionalholiday resort, from donkey rides to ice cream, fishand chips to crazy golf and sandy beaches to arcades.Amongst the seaside fun and frolics, Scarborough isbrimming with history and culture. In the churchyardof St Mary’s Church, parts of which date back to 12thCentury, lies the grave of Brontë sister, Anne, who diedon 28th May 1849, aged 28. Overlooking the Churchlays Scarborough Castle, which was first built in 1157 byWilliam Le Gros, and has had many owners in its lifetime,including Edward I and Henry II.CountrysideYorkshire is a big and beautiful county that reachesMallard Flat –York city breaksA modern self-catering holidayapartment close to York city centreAre you looking for a self-catering basein York for a weekend break or longerholiday let? ‘Mallard’ is a beautiful, wellappointed,peaceful, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4comfortably), 2-bathroom, non-smokingground floor flat in the historic cityof York. The flat is double-glazed andcentrally heated. It is situated on the edgeof a landscaped complex of houses andflats. The complex was built about tenyears ago and is close to the train station,National Railway Museum and city centre.To date, ‘Mallard’ has been enjoyed bycouples, families, friends, business visitors,academics and disabled guests. It is wellsuited to non-drivers, as you can walkor bus everywhere in the City. It is alsoideal for cyclists, and is close to SustransNational Route 65.into no less than three National Parks - the YorkshireDales, North York Moors and the Peak District, makingit the ideal place for walking, cycling, horse riding,birdwatching, fishing and just generally enjoying thegreat British outdoors.The North York Moors cover a broad area, stretching fromthe Vale of York and the Vale of Mowbray, across to theYorkshire Coast. The North York Moors National Park is oneof the finest landscapes in Britain, with miles of stunningheather, towering sea cliffs, secluded beaches and grassydales, all of which give it a character of its own.Cities & TownsYork Minster, with its majestic architecture is a truepleasure to walk round and if you’re lucky, you can sit awhile and enjoy the harmonious song of the choir. Get abird’s eye view of the city by climbing Clifford’s Tower orscare yourself silly at York Dungeons and get face-to-facewith Vikings at the Jorvik Centre.Leeds combines the fast-pace of lively city living with theserenity of countryside within easy reach. Shopaholic’swill be in heaven in Leeds. In fact, shopping in Leeds wasamongst the 30 essential ‘things to do’ for visitors to theUK in 2006’s Rough Guide to Britain.Otherwise known as Brontë country, Keighley has along history dating back to the Ninth Century. It’s evenmentioned in the Doomsday book as Chicehlai (the fieldbelonging to Chyya), so it’s the perfect place for historybuffs to explore. At the heart of the town is the modernAiredale Shopping Centre. Nearby Cavendish Street withits Edwardian canopy, Cavendish Court in its cobbledindoor courtyard, and the famous Indoor Market are theperfect place to find a lasting souvenir of your trip toEngland’s biggest county.A delightful market town, located on the banks of theRiver Swale, Richmond is the perfect base from which toexplore everything North Yorkshire has to offer. Homeof the oldest Georgian theatre in the country, Richmondhas a charming cobbled market place and excellentmuseums, as well as a variety of galleries, shops and tearooms – perfect for afternoon tea as you watch the worldgo by.The Yorkshire PassA fantastic way to discover some of county’s bestattractions is to pick up a Yorkshire Pass. Offering entryinto 75 diverse attractions, the Yorkshire Pass is the UK’svery first regional sightseeing pass. Available as a one,two, three or six-day pass, holders can gain entry toeverything from World Heritage sites to world-famoushistorical buildings, royal castles to aquariums. Visitwww.yorkshirepass.com to pick up your Pass today!To plan your autumn escape to Yorkshire,visit www.visityork.org orwww.yorkshirevisitor.comAn Ace Time At Ace YorkYork has a history dating back to Romantimes, when it was named ‘Eboracum’,its name was then changed to ‘Jorvik’ inViking times and it has just celebratedits 800th year in 2012 as ‘York’. If you’relooking for a budget place to stay duringyour stay in York, but don’t want tocompromise on quality, Aspire would liketo like to recommend a stay at Ace York,a city centre, four-star hostel catering forbackpackers and budget travellers fromacross the globeA grand Georgian townhouse built in 1752,Ace York boasts a range of double, twin, familyand Dormitory rooms from £16 per night. Thedouble rooms all overlook the famous Yorkwall built in 1192 and boast safes, televisionsand their own original 18th Century fireplaces.The twin rooms offer views of Micklegate andbenefit from en-suite bathrooms, televisions,safes and hospitality trays, whilst the familyrooms boast original oak beams and fireplaces,as well as views of the city walls. Finally, the AceYork dorms range from having four to fourteenbeds and all have en-suite bathrooms, exceptthe four-bed dormitory. These dorm roomshave under bed storage lockers and individualreading lights, as well as views of either thecourtyard, the Minster or Micklegate itself.The building itself also boasts a number ofimpressive features, including: stone-flaggedentrance hall, a grand sweeping staircase,panelled rooms, vaulted cellar and a fabulousRococo ceiling featuring Shakespeare’s head.In 2009, Ace York underwent a £2millionrefurbishment programme to restore andupdate the building in line with its traditionalGeorgian Heritage but with a modern edge,making it your perfect accommodation fora trip to York. One of the highlights of thisrestoration work was the installation of a brandnew self-catering kitchen, which all guests haveaccess to, allowing guests to cook their ownmeals should they wish.Ace York General Manager, Brian Taylor, toldAspire: “As well as the indoor refurbishmentprogramme, we’ve also just re-done thecourtyard; I’ve put in some new plants andsome fairy lights to make the outdoor spacemore inviting and welcoming for the summermonths – hopefully we’ll get some nice weatherso guests can enjoy it. We’re also in the processof redesigning our bar menu to feature somesummery dishes.”With air-conditioning throughout, its ownoak-beamed basement games room, TVlounge, sauna, and outside seating area. AceYork also boasts a relaxed and sociable bar,serving excellent food and a secure and friendlyenvironment. Clean, fresh sheets provided foryour ease and comfort; towels can be hired for£1 with a £5 deposit. The hostel boasts coinoperatedwashing and drying machines andthere’s no curfew, allowing you to enjoy thebest of York nightlife!Ace York’s bar has a happy hour from Mondayto Friday from 5pm until 7pm and the hostelis within 10 minutes walking distance of 300bars and restaurants. Brian added: “Being sucha short distance from the city centre, we attracta lot of single sex groups as well as individualtravellers looking to explore the ancient city ofYork. We’re quieter during the week than weare at the weekends, so if you’re looking forpeace and quiet, I’d advise coming during theweek rather than at weekends. We welcome awide variety of guests here to Ace York, fromtravellers, couples and locals to party groups,sports groups, schools and universities fromall across the globe. As an all-round friendlyhostel, we welcome people of all ages and aremore than well-equipped to offer the facilitiesfor children to enjoy themselves, whether itbe watching a film in our brand new cinemalounge, which shows a film every night, orenjoying some TV or games in our commonlounge area. We’re regularly voted numbertwo hostel on Hostel World, which is based oncustomer reviews and we’re always within thetop five hostels in England.”Conveniently located near York Railway Stationand situated in Micklegate, the oldest part ofYork, York’s wealth of attractions, includingYork Minster (the largest Gothic Cathedralnorth of the Alps), the award-winning JorvikViking Centre, the National Railway Museum,Clifford Tower and YorkBoat, are within a fiveto ten-minute stroll of Ace York. With so muchto choose from, you really will be spoilt forchoice when it comes to places to visit, whichis why you need a comfortable, clean and wellequippedplace to stay, such as Ace York.For more information, please visit www.acehotelyork.co.uk or call 01904 627720Ace York can also be found on Facebookwww.yorkcitybreaks.co.uk©VisitBritain / Martin Brent16 ASPIREASPIRE 17

Outdoor Holidays In ScotlandAn Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukA country of staggering beauty, dramatic landscapesand fascinating sites, Scotland’s tourist attractionsmake it a must for holidaymakers seeking a holidayto remember. From imposing mountains to vast lochs,it’s got everything you need to enjoy adventurous orrelaxing outdoors pursuits.For more than a century walkers and climbers havebeen drawn to Scotland’s towering mountains, whichare well-known for offering many challenges and boaststunning views. The highest mountains are known asthe Munros, which stretch more than 3,000 feet into thesky, but you don’t have to go to extremes to experienceScotland’s dramatic scenery as there are many otherwalking opportunities throughout the country. Simplygo to walking.visitscotland.com to find a route that’sright for you.If you’d rather explore on two wheels, rather than twofeet, there are also an abundance of cycling routes todiscover and with trails offering family rides, hilly terrainand easy routes, all abilities are easily catered for. Find aroute for you at active.visitscotland.com/findrouteSurrounded by sea and boasting 100 rivers and 500 freshand saltwater lochs, it’s easy to see why water-basedactivities are so popular in Scotland. With canoeing, seakayaking,white water rafting and sailing to choose from,there are many ways to get out on the water and admirethe Scottish scenery from a different angle. Go toactive.visitscotland.com for more ideas.Famous for its salmon, north of the border boastsunrivalled opportunities for fishing – in fact, it has someof the most prolific salmon rivers in the world. It’s alsoknown for offering excellent trout and grayling fishingand with sea, loch and river fishing for various speciesavailable all year round, it’s a great destination for keenanglers. Excellent resources on fishing in Scotland can befound at www.fishpal.com/ScotlandEveryone likes to indulge in local cuisine when visitingsomewhere new, but in Scotland you can discover muchmore about local produce and much-loved delicacies byfollowing one of its famous trails. Visit seven renowneddistilleries on the world-famous Scotch Malt Whisky Trail,taste fish at its freshest on the Scottish Seafood Trailor follow the real ale trail, which takes in 23 breweriesacross the country.To experience Scotland’s at its finest, Aspire would like torecommend a trip to the Hebrides. Standing majesticallyat the northwest edge of Europe, the Hebrides is a 150-mile long chain of beaches, wildlife and adventure thatmakes a great destination for a holiday. Continually,battered by strong Atlantic winds, the Hebrides may feellike a bleak place to spend a holiday; but there are somany miles of superb beaches, wild mountain scenery,and various archaeological treasures to be discovered,it’s actually a great destination if you’re looking toget away from it all. The most populous of the OuterHebridean islands is Lewis, with over 20,000 inhabitants,8,000 of which live in Stornoway; if you really want totake a step back in time and discover an unspoilt world,Aspire recommend visiting one of the smaller Hebrideanislands, such as Barra, Raasay or St Kilda. Discover thewonder of these stunning islands by logging ontowww.visithebrides.comWith so much on offer in this charming yet compactcountry, you’ll benefit from somewhere warm,welcoming and relaxing to rest your head after all thatexploration. Scotland is home to an array of holidayaccommodation, from loch-side cabins to cosmopolitanhotels in the big cities, and from historic cottages withroaring fires to farmhouses with the most breathtakingviews – whatever accommodation solution you’re inneed of, you’ll find it in Scotland.If you want your holiday in Scotland to take in as muchof this intriguing country as possible, why not bookyourself onto a tour of one of the areas that fascinateyou the most. With island hopping, history, wildlife andsea-based adventures to try, you’ll soon discover a wholedifferent side to Scotland. To plan your trip, visitwww.visitscotland.comExperience The DramaticWilds Of Bonnie©VisitBritain / Britain on ViewWhen visiting Aviemore andlooking for Bed and Breakfastaccommodation, look nofurther for that HighlandHospitality and friendlywelcome here at CairngormGuest House.Cairngorm House is a 12Bedroom Guest House locatedin the village of Aviemoreon the main road, with allthe amenities - bars andrestaurants, rail and bus links a5 to 10-minute walk away.Ample private parking andextensive grounds in which torelax.Main Street, Aviemore,Highland PH22 1RPTel: 01479 810 630Email:enquiries@cairngormguesthouse.comwww.cairngormguesthouse.comScotlandIsle of Gigha, Argyll PA41 7AATel: 01583 505254Email: hotel@gigha.org.ukwww.gigha.org.ukInspiring & Welcoming:Discover the Raasay ExperienceSituated on the tranquil Scottish Island of Raasay reachedby a short ferry journey from the Isle of Skye, Rassay Houseoffers visitors holiday accommodation and a range ofamazing activities. The House, set amongst breathtakingscenery, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, is an idyllicsetting from which to soak up The Raasay Experience.Built in 1746, Raasay House has been altered and improvedover the years. In 1984, it became home to Raasay OutdoorCentre, offering activities and accommodation to groups,families and individuals. In 2007, the owners embarked ona £3 million refurbishment of the property, adding en-suiterooms, a restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, and repairingthe beautiful Georgian frontage. However, in 2009, two weeksbefore the business was to move back in to the building, theHouse was burnt to the ground by a devastating fire. Luckily,the retaining walls remained, so over the last four yearsbuilders and craftsmen have restored the house back to itsformer glory. Although everything is now new and there aremodern modifications, the feel, style and character of theoriginal Raasay House have been put back.Since the fire, the owners have been running the outdooractivity centre, accommodation, restaurant and bar in aneighbouring hotel, but they’re getting ready to move backinto Raasay House next year, opening to the public in spring2013.The house is big, with grand formal rooms that we can caterfor many different clients; corporate events, holidaymakers,school/educational trips, wonderful weddings and othercelebrations - all will find something to suit them at RaasayHouse. Raasay House offers an extensive range of outdooractivities for the young, and young at heart, includingcanoeing, sea and in-shore kayaking, rock climbing,wild walking, mountain biking, archery, bushcraft skills,coasteering and sailing on the wonderful sail boat, OighNiseach. It’s one of only three boats of its kind in the worldand was based on a traditional Scandinavian sailing boat.There’s no better place to enjoy the outdoors; Raasay is aparadise island!As well as an abundance of adrenaline pumping activities,Raasay House also offer weddings for 50 to 150 peoplethroughout the year, as Freya, the wedding organiser,explained: “We’ve held some beautiful weddings here in thepast and we pride ourselves on providing the wedding thatYOU want. We don’t have any set packages, so everythingis tailored to you and what you want from your special day.I think couples choose us because of our stunning andunspoilt location and our professional, friendly and creativeteam. We work on every detail to ensure your day is notonly perfect, but as individual as you are. We also have avariety of different accommodation to suit all budgets; soeveryone can stay in the same place but in accommodationThe Trust owned Gigha Hotel is located justa few hundred yards from the ferry terminal,and has a personal charm all of its own. Ourteam are exceptionally friendly and will ensurethat your stay at the hotel and on the island isa memorable one. The hotel is the ideal basefor you to explore this lush island. Whetheryou are walking or cycling, the size of Gighaguarantees that you will be able to exploreevery corner quite easily.The hotel offers superb views of the islandfrom practically every room. There is achoice of single, twin beds and doublebedrooms - all en-suite. We also have a luxurysuite overlooking Ardminish Bay for thosespecial occasions! All rooms are spaciousand extremely comfortable with a colourtelevision, tea and coffee making facilities,central heating. Telephone facilities areavailable and all rooms have a high level ofadditional facilities. A large, comfortable guestlounge offers wonderful views over ArdminishBay towards the mainland of Scotland andalso acts as an additional dining area andfunction suite.ranging from a tent on our camp site to a deluxe room witha private balcony, all with the dramatic island mountains asa backdrop.”For further details, please call 01478 660266or visit www.raasay-house.co.uk18 ASPIREASPIRE 19

CelebrateIn StyleSpecial OccasionsTel: 01452 741083www.cotswoldbrides.comMaxine Thompson is a highlyrecommended professional weddinghair and make up artist with ten yearsexperience in the wedding industry.All brides would like to look their bestfor their wedding day and I wouldpersonally like to offer a stress-free andaffordable way of doing exactly that.I can offer professional weddinghair, make up and accessoryservice especially tailored to yourrequirements.There is no travelling involved as Icome to you for consultations and onyour big day!From christenings to milestonebirthdays, weddings toanniversaries, there are plentyof events throughout the yearthat are a cause for celebration.If you’re currently in the midstof planning any of these specialoccasions, then Aspire have agreat selection of companiesand some inspiring ideas tohelp your party go with abang...Have your cake and eat it...Whatever the occasion, a celebrationisn’t complete without a mouthwateringcake. For birthdays, let yourimagination run riot with a noveltynumber, animal or character cake,whilst a photo cake is an ideal wayto celebrate a 25th or 50th weddinganniversary. For weddings, thetradition has always been for a tieredfruit cake, but individual cupcakes areproving to be a cute wedding trendthat’s here to stay.Dress to impress...Every bride wants to look and feel likea princess on their big day, but findingthe perfect dress can be a difficult task.Cut out and keep pictures of the stylesyou like and seek the advice of bridalspecialists, who can advise you on thestyles and colours that suit your shape.Gifts galore...A personalised gift, handmadetreat or a keepsake will make for agreat memento and choosing anindependent store over the High Streetmeans your gift is more likely to beunusual and unique.Capture the moment...One of the most important aspectsof your event, especially for thoseplanning their big day, is employingthe services of a professionalphotographer, so all of those specialmoments can be relived once you’vesettled into your new life as husbandand wife.An Exciting New Approach toSustainable Building in Ratbywww.cawrey.co.ukWedding traditions vary from country to country,from bridal veils to wedding cakes, the UK hasnumerous customs that have survived over time,but do you know the origins of any of them?• Veils have been worn by brides since the times ofthe ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed thatit protected them from evil spirits.• The tiered cake became a wedding staple afteremerging from a game where the newly marriedcouple would try and kiss over and ever-highercake without knocking it over.• In olden times, it was believed that a vein in thefourth finger of the left hand led directly to theheart, which is why engagement and weddingrings are worn on this finger.• The bridal tradition of wearing ‘something old’ isused to symbolise continuity with the past, whilst‘something blue’ represents purity, fidelity andlove.• According to English folklore, Saturday is theunluckiest day to get married, despite being themost popular day to get married in modern Britain.At Crafty Pig we like tocreate pieces that are edgingon alternative and quirky,something a little differentto what you find on the HighStreet.Our jewellery range includes earrings, necklaces, braceletsand watches. We also have a wide choice of accessoriesincluding wine glass charms, bookmarks, brooches, bagcharms, key rings, dummy clips, tiaras and hairpins.We offer a bespoke service for weddings or any otherspecial occasion, so if you want something unique forthat special day at affordable prices please contactus through our website www.craftypig.co.uk oremail direct to info@craftypig.co.ukB.R.R @B.R.C.PTel: 07966 483 777Email: jacquiangels@hotmail.co.ukwww.beautystudio-swindon.co.ukI am a Holistic Therapist with over 30 years’ experience, and a member of the British Register ofComplimentary Practitioners and the British Register of Reflexologists.I specialise in Reflexology, Therapeutic Massage and Indian Head Massage and I am a Reikimaster and Theta healer. I work with Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) and offer avaried range of beauty treatments.My speciality wedding preparations create the perfect day to suit your personal requirements.My make-up artist work is used for portraits, portfolios and modelling and is closely supportedby professional photographers to create a new you!I remain constantly positive in my work, guiding my clients to total health and well-being. Ihave a wonderful client base of people who have benefitted from my wide range of treatmentsmaking them relaxed and whole again!Delicious & CreativeCakes FromFor more information, or to discuss your individualrequirements with Gillian, please call 01697 371478or visit www.gillianscelebrationcakes.co.uk to seemore examples of Gillian’s previous work.Gillian’s Celebration Cakes, Sunny Brae, Mealsgate,Wigton, Nr Carlisle CA7 1ANWith a passion for creatingsomething unique to you and awealth of experience spanning25 years, Gillian Marr of Gillian’sCelebration Cakes, is ideallysuited to make a delicious andinteresting cake for your specialoccasion.From birthdays to christening andweddings, Gillian can make you theperfect cake for any occasion, as sheexplained: “I can make any kind of cakeyou want: rich fruit, rich chocolate,sponge or carrot cake, all of which Iwill decorate with anything you want,including handcrafted sugar flowerswhich are my speciality.“I became interested in sugarcraft andmaking cakes after taking an eveningclass to learn how to ice a Christmascake in the late 1980s. This interestgrew into a hobby and I joined a localsugarcraft club, which boasted 80members at the time. I was then offeredthe chance to teach sugarcraft, so Iwent back to college and did my Cityand Guilds and teacher training and Inow have 23 years teaching experience,mainly teaching adults. I decided toturn my hobby into a business about12 years ago; with my husband’s help,I converted part of our home andnow make all my cakes by hand in mykitchen, using free-range eggs andother ingredients which are sourcedas locally as possible. I’m happy to takeorders for any shape or size of cakeand can cater for food allergies andintolerances.”In the past, Gillian has made all mannerof cakes, including sugarcrafting rugbyplayers, Beatrix Potter characters and agiraffe for a bride and groom who weregoing on safari for their honeymoon.“Everything is do-able,” Gillian said. “I’mlucky because I work really well when Ihave a photo in front of me. I can shapeand mould the sugarcraft into anything,and I’m pretty good at it too – I’ve hadsome great feedback from customers.”Gillian is happy to discuss individualrequirements with customers, eitheron the telephone or via email. “Eachcake is so individual, it’s hard to givean average price but I’m happy towork with any budget and can makesuggestions and guide customers todetermine exactly what they want.Delivery of the cake and set up at yourvenue or home is included within a50-mile radius of my home in Wigtonnear Carlisle. I pride myself on offering apleasant, happy service and will arrangeeverything for my customers so theycan relax and just enjoy the build up totheir special occasion.”BOB WESTECOTTis The Norfolk ToastmasterYou will have spent weeks, months orpossibly years planning your or your familymembers’ special day. On the day itself doyou really want to be the person makingsure that everyone is in the right placedoing the right thing at the right time?Probably not, so that’s where I come in.Once briefed I will take on all of those tasksfor you, allowing you to sit back and enjoythe fruits of your labour.Look at my website there’s a video clip foryou to see. Call me and we can meet up todiscuss your requirements and tailor makeyour day.Tel: 01263 768783 or 079000 71597Email:enquiries@thenorfolktoastmaster.comwww.thenorfolktoastmaster.comAspire’s Top RecommendationBeautiful music that createsthe perfect atmosphere foryour special day...“...the day would have beenincomplete without yourheavenly playing...”“...your music was absolutelysuperb and you really added somuch to our day.”Every event is unique and Jeanettewill be happy to provide a bespokeprogramme to suit your individualrequirements, with a friendly,professional and personal approach.To discuss music for your own specialday contact Jeanette on:01753 882850 | 07956 186052www.jeanettecorderyharpist.comEmail: jeanettecordery@hotmail.co.ukWeddings are happy occasions, sharedby the whole family. If you want just theright amount of class and formality to yourbig day, Aspire would like to recommendhiring a Professional Toastmaster likeDavid Wylie, who boasts over a decade ofexperience.“My first encounter as a Toastmaster waswhen I was asked to officiate at a function,where the Toastmaster failed to arrive at thevenue due to unforeseen circumstances. I laterlearned, he unfortunately, suffered a heartattack just prior to leaving home. I was a littleapprehensive to begin with, as with mostthings that you haven’t planned, but after afew announcements and introductions, I reallystarted to enjoy myself. The event was verysuccessful and I received great commentsfrom those attending. I was now hooked!Sometime later, I was contacted by theToastmaster who suffered the heart attack. Heasked me if I had ever considered becoming aToastmaster, because he had heard from theorganizer of the event, that he had receivedsome excellent feedback having stepped in atthe last minute. The rest is history.”Raise Your Glasses withDavid WylieToastmasterCovering the whole of the UK, Davidprides himself on being a modern dayToastmaster, as he explained: “I’m not stuffy;I’m very organised but I have to be to ensureeverything runs smoothly on the day, butI’m flexible and will happily accommodateanything the event organisers want. Manybrides and bridegrooms want a less formal,more relaxed day and I pride myself onbringing the tradition of the Toastmaster totheir day but with a modern-day attitude. I’mthere to enable the organiser to sit back andrelax on the day. The task of the Toastmastercan be exhausting but it’s extremely rewardingand fruitful. I love my job.”Trained at the United Kingdom School ofProfessional Toastmasters, Member and PastPresident of, The Association of the UK Schoolof Professional Toastmasters and Memberof the National Association of Toastmasters,David operates every event to a high standard,using his extensive skills and knowledgeto ensure your event, be it a wedding, civicreception, livery dinner, formal dinner,banquet, or Bar Mitzvah, runs as planned.David is willing to travel to any location.Contact David for a free quotation.Tel: 01322 274632 or 07768 448999 | Web: www.toastmaster2u.co.ukEmail: david@toastmaster2u.co.uk20 ASPIREASPIRE 21

Special OccasionsThe Perfect Dress Just For You, FromBrighton Philharmonic OrchestraAwarded Certificate22 ASPIREWith just over three monthsto go until Christmas, thefestive season is almost uponus; if your diary is filling upfast with fabulous partiesthat you must attend, butyou don’t have anything towear, don’t despair. Nowis the perfect time to enlistthe services of an expertdesigner, someone who canmake your dream dress,which fits you perfectly, inorder to wow your friends,family and co-workers thisDecember.Established since 2002, TheSampling Unit was founded byfashion-lover, Andrew Theodosiou,who has spent his working lifeinvolved in the fashion industry.Andrew told Aspire: “It’s been mylife’s ambition to own my ownbusiness and I’ve been interested infashion from a young age. I guessyou could say my career in fashionbegan on Saturdays when I had ajob attaching tags to garments; Iwould then work as much as I couldduring school holidays and learntas I went. When I left school, I wentstraight into the fashion industry. Ihave gained excessive experience inmaking couture one-off garmentsfrom working with many coutureBritish fashion houses and haveexpert knowledge of the wholedesign process. I have dressed manycelebrities, royals and VIPs.”Although the majority of TheSampling Unit’s work comes frommanufacturers and designers,Andrew and his team offer abespoke, made-to-measure designservice, creating unique, one-offpieces for weddings, parties andother special occasions. Andrewexplained: “We begin with aconsultation to determine whatthe client wants and what they like.I usually ask them to bring somephotos of styles and cuts they likewith them. It’s usually now that weask them about fabric. Once weknow what the clients wants, we dosome design sketches and sourcethe fabric; once the sketches havebeen approved and the fabric isok-ed, we take some measurementsand give an approximate price. Itcan only be approximate due to theone-off nature of the garment. It’snow that a deposit is required; we’llthen spend the next four weeksmaking the dress, having the clientcome in for a couple of fittingsduring that time, depending onthe style and occasion. We like toleave the fittings of wedding dressesuntil as late as we can because weknow, from experience, that bridesweight can change due to stress. Itusually takes us about two monthsto make a wedding dress so it’s vitalbrides who want something unique,something bespoke, come to us withplenty of time before their weddingday.”Andrew works with a team ofdesigners, as well as three patterncutters and 15 machinists to ensureyour dream dress is ready for yourspecial occasion, whether it be abirthday celebration, Christmas do,corporate event or your weddingday. In the past, Andrew has workedwith designers to make outfits forFergie from the Black Eyed Peas,Lady Gaga and Lady ElizabethAnson, the Queen’s cousin, as wellas helping to develop the outfits forTeam GB’s gymnasts at London 2012.Andrew added: “We can doabsolutely anything a client wants,any design; nothing is too big or toosmall. We offer an excellent serviceto provide clients the dress or outfitof their dreams, perfectly fitted totheir size and shape, using the bestquality fabric available, expertlymade with a couture finish. Pricescan start from as little as £1,500rising to as much as £5,000; it alldepends on what the client wants.”For more information, or to make an appointment for an individual consultationwith Andrew and his designers, please call 0208 8000911or visit www.thesamplingunit.co.ukBoasting an ‘all-star’ line up ofmusicians who regularly play forother premiere orchestras in Londonand across the UK, the BrightonPhilharmonic Orchestra (BPO) havebeen awarded an Aspire Certificateof Recognition for ClassicalPerformance.Founded by Herbert Menges and a groupof his friends in May 1925, the BPO sharesplayers with the London SymphonyOrchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,Philharmonia, London Mozart Players,Britten Sinfonia, English String Orchestra,City of London Sinfonia, City of BirminghamSymphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony andConcert Orchestras and the orchestras ofthe Royal Opera House and English NationalOpera who all love the BPO’s repertoire,as well as playing for current PrincipalConductor, Barry Wordsworth.With a full professional orchestra, BPOperform regularly throughout the season andon the morning of every performance, holdan open rehearsal for anyone who cannotmake it to the full afternoon performance.Sunday 21st October at 2.45pm – watch theBPO (with Barry Wordsworth as Conductor)begin their season with a concert celebratingthe sea and Nelson’s famous victory atTrafalgar on 21 October 1805. The BrightonFestival Chorus joins the BPO in one ofHaydn’s most dramatic and well-knownchoral works. Elgar’s Sea Pictures for solocontralto and orchestra sets five hauntinglybeautiful poems exploring both fascinationand fear of the sea – a piece that has notbeen in a BPO programme since the 1950s. SirHenry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songswas written to mark the centenary of theBattle of Trafalgar in 1905 and for many yearswas an indispensable part of the Last Night ofthe Proms.Sunday 11th November at 2.45pm – celebratethe bicentenary of the birth of GiuseppeVerdi with a performance of the excitingoverture from his opera The Force of Destiny,composed when he was at the height ofhis career. It begins a programme in thetraditional format and is followed by Mozart’sPiano Concerto in A. This performanceintroduces Richard Uttley, a young soloistcurrently on the Young Classical Artist Trustscheme. A recent review praised Richard forhis ‘musical intelligence and pristine facilitywhich interlock seamlessly. A symphony bySibelius concludes this hark back to earlierprogramming styles – another piece that’sbeen absent from BPO’s programmes for 20years.Sunday 13th January 2013 at 2.45pm – withVerdi’s Prelude and Triumphal March fromhis grand opera Aida, BPO celebrate for thesecond time this season the bicentenary ofhis birth. Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianosfeatured in the recent Triple Ballet Bill atCovent Garden. BPO’s two soloists are lookingforward to performing in the limelight onstage rather than hidden in the orchestra pitof the Royal Opera House. Saint-Saëns’s bestloved Symphony and perennial Brightonfavourite shows off the grand organ atBrighton Dome and concludes this traditionalformat concert.Sunday 24th March 2013 at 2.45pm – theclimax of the season takes us throughRussia and on to France in a programmethat contrasts the ceremonial of a RussianEaster with the sultry world of Ravel’s subtleharmonies. The BPO stay with French musicfor Saint-Saëns’s passionate Concertofor Cello before returning to the Russiaof Stravinsky and an opportunity for thismarvellous orchestra to spread its wings.This concert also celebrates the centenaryof the first performance in Paris of The Riteof Spring, created for Diaghilev’s innovativeBallets Russes. Barry Wordsworth will ensurethat the orchestra thrills the audience withStravinsky’s ritual dances and rhythmic drive.Tickets (£4.50 to £32) and further details onall these performances can be found onlineat www.brightonphil.org.uk or call theBrighton Dome Box Office on 01273 709709Aspire Sales Executive, Emily Davison,explained why she nominated the BPO forour Certificate of Recognition for ClassicalPerformance: “Seeing music performedlive is the only way to really experience it.Seeing music performed live really brings itto life and offers the listener an unrivalledmusical experience; it’s a truly inspirationalopportunity and the BPO are obviouslydoing something right. In the last 10 years,they’ve sold more than 93,000 tickets fortheir concerts. I’m pleased to award themour Certificate of Recognition and I hope itencourages Aspire readers to experiencea BPO performance next time they’re inBrighton.”of RecognitionFor any general enquires on the BPO, please call 01273 622900ASPIRE 23

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