from the EDITOR
A Culinary Journey through
dishes for afternoon tea
Isn’t it funny how quickly we can go
from loving the hot weather to doing
a rain dance - is there anything more
British? Day one sees us calling
every available neighbour into the
garden for a BBQ, making sangria
and filling up the paddling pool...but
by day three we are complaining
about not sleeping in the heat,
getting sunburnt and worrying about
the grass dying under said pool. At
least the garden is looking pretty
Happy gardens are a theme as this
edition we were very happy to chat
to Chelsea seven-time gold medal
winner Adam Frost about getting the
garden ready for autumn. Then we
are beginning to turn our attention
to the indoors and this edition that
means bringing together some easy
ideas to give your home that little lift
- you only need to make some small
changes to give a space a refresh.
On the foodie side, we are talking to
chef Mitch Tonks - he’s a passionate
advocate of British seafood and has
lots of exciting plans afoot. We are
also feeling a little indulgent with
some delicious recipes for another
British classic - the afternoon tea.
Editor Katie Thomson
Easy interior updates
for a quick refresh
Publisher Sally Thomson
Pre-press Manager Kate Norris
Contributors Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs, Angela Cave,
Front cover courtesy of Steve Haywood
Key Account Manager Angela Maskell
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On the later life side, we are taking
stock, and showing that retirement
planning is important no matter
your age. We go through the major
pointers to help you get your
financial ducks in a row.
Finally, we have the amazing
competitions - last edition we had
an unfortunate misprint on the
closing date, so we’ve extended the
previous edition by another month,
alongside bringing you a host of
amazing new goodies to be won this
All that’s left is to wish you a fabulous
summer of fun and to say we’ll be
back in October - brace yourself, we
may just be mentioning...Christm...
no I can’t, not yet. But be prepared,
it’s coming! See you then!
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 3
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With over 30 fruity, floral and fresh perfumer
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4 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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The Festival of
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www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 5
Learning through play
Katie Paynter - discusses
the value of play in the
development of children
Nothing is as natural as a child at play. It is a
cherished part of childhood. It is important
to recognise that it is difficult to give a single
definition of play. It can be defined as ‘what
children and young people do when they
follow their own ideas and interests, in their
own way, and for their own reasons.’ Play
has also frequently been described as ‘what
children and young people do when they are
not being told what to do by adults’.
Regardless of definition, the importance
of play cannot be underestimated. It is
undeniably instrumental in children’s learning
and development and is particularly integral
in a child’s early years, given it indubitably
supports their foundational social, emotional
and cognitive growth.
Anyone spending any time with young
children will understand that providing them
with opportunities for play provides so much
more than a few minutes or hours of ‘fun’.
Many instrumental skills are developed. It
develops communication and language skills
and vocabulary, an understanding of emotion
and empathy, social skills and creativity. It
also supports and strengthens co-operation,
collaboration, sharing and problem solving.
Children will observe those around them
and mimic language and behaviour. It
teaches self-expression, nurtures a sense of
imagination and simultaneously gives children
a feeling of adventure.
Dramatic play is absolutely essential to a
child’s social and emotional development and
can enhance their physical development too.
It is also very closely connected to intellectual
development. This is when children make
sense of the world in which they live by
acting out situations before they experience
them and by mimicking what they witness
around them. Most children are innately
imaginative and will happily chat away to
someone on their toy telephone or pretend
to travel to hospital in an ambulance made
from a cardboard box! This creativity must be
Encouraging young children to embrace
physically active play is extremely beneficial
and necessary for their development. It
helps them to learn about the ever-changing
environment and gives them the opportunity
to use their whole body and develop their
gross motor skills. It can meet their multisensory
needs and will promote significant
health and well-being benefits. Whether it
is messy play, creative or role play, it is an
essential part of learning.
Play provides a platform through which
children are not only able to learn about the
world around them through interacting with it,
but it also gives them the opportunity to learn
about themselves. As play is fun, children’s
focus tends to be over a sustained period. In
turn, this helps children to develop the ability
to concentrate. It is important as parents not
to push your child too hard. Children develop
in their own ways and in their own time and,
rest assured, their levels of focus will steadily
It is imperative that children are given the
time ‘to be children’ and being able to play
is essential, if the aforementioned physical,
social, emotional and cognitive skills are to be
Katie Paynter, head of pre-prep and EYFS at
Lochinver House School and IAPS pre-prep
and EY adviser
6 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
CLASSIC TEATIME SCONES
You can’t go wrong with a freshly baked
scone. Simple to master and can be
whipped up in a matter of minutes!
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 12-15 MINUTES
MAKE 18-22 SCONES
450g self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
50g caster sugar
2 medium Clarence Court Hens Eggs plus
Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/ gas mark
6. Line two baking trays with greaseproof
Put the flour and baking powder into a large
mixing bowl, add the butter and rub it into
to the flour with your fingers until you create
a fine breadcrumb texture. Stir in the sugar.
Crack the eggs into a measuring jug and
top up with enough milk to get to 270ml.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix
and pour in the eggs and milk. Stir using a
dinner knife to start then use your hands to
form a rough dough. Tip out on to a lightly
floured work surface and roll to a rough
oblong about 2cm thick.
Use a 5cm cutter to cut out as many scones
as possible then arrange over the 2 trays
making sure they aren’t too close to each
other. Roll out the remaining dough and cut
out more scones. When all the scones have
been cut out, brush the tops with beaten
egg and place the trays in the oven to bake
for 12 - 15 minutes or until pale gold in
colour and nicely risen.
With Afternoon Tea Week
taking place from 9-15
August, plus the MacMillan
Coffee Morning on the 24
September, there’s never
been a better time to gather
your nearest and dearest,
don your apron and get
baking! We’ve gathered
together the best recipes
from Clarence Court Eggs
Allow to cool a little on a wire rack and
serve warm with clotted cream and your
8 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
SESAME BRAIDED EGG BUNS
A mix between a brioche and a pretzel, Nicola
Millbank’s sesame braided eggs buns are best
served warm fresh from the oven, slathered in
PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES PLUS 90 MINUTES
TO RISE AND 30 MINUTES TO REST
COOK TIME: 25-30 MINUTES
175ml warm milk
2¼ teaspoon fast action dried yeast
50g caster sugar
2 Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs, plus 1
60ml vegetable oil
440g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon of milk
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
A pinch of flaked sea salt
The following can be done in either a stand
mixer with the dough hook attachment or in a
large bowl with a fork.
Into the bowl, add the warm milk, yeast, castor
sugar, eggs and egg yolk, vegetable oil, plain
flour and salt. Turn the machine onto low and
mix until the ingredients have come together
and a sticky dough is formed, completely
coming away from the bowl.
Turn out onto a floured surface, kneed for a
couple of minutes until smooth and form into
a ball. Place the dough into an oiled bowl
and cover in clingfilm for 90 minutes until it’s
doubled in size.
After 90 minutes, turn the dough out onto a
floured surface. Cut the dough into quarters
then each quarter into three. Working on one
piece at a time, cut the piece of dough in half,
and roll both halves out into two sausages,
around 20cm long. Place one down horizontally,
and the other, over the top vertically creating
a cross. Then picking up the ends of the
horizontal sausage, cross them over each other
and place them back down. Repeat this with the
vertical sausage, criss-crossing the pieces of
dough to form a plait.
Tuck the ends under the bun and place the
braid onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof
paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Cover the braided buns in cling film and allow
to rest for another 30 minutes and preheat the
oven to 170˚C/ 150˚C fan. Uncover the buns.
Mix together the egg yolk and milk and brush
evenly over the buns. Scatter with sesame
seeds and a sprinkle of seat salt.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a
deep golden brown. Allow to cool a little before
removing them from the baking sheet; but these
are best served warm with salted butter..
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 9
QUAIL SCOTCH EGGS
Libby Silbermann, has shared with us her
perfect picnic addition. These Quail Scotch
Eggs are a delicious bite size treat, served
with tarragon mayo, dip and enjoy!
PREP TIME: 45 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 5 MINUTES
12 Clarence Court quail eggs
250g good quality British sausages,
removed from skins
1 egg beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
100g plain flour
Vegetable oil for frying
2x egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus extra for
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar (or white
250ml olive oil (or rapeseed)
Juice of ½ lemon
Handful of fresh tarragon leaves, picked
Boil the quail eggs in a pan of boiling
water for 2 minutes. Then plunge into
an ice bath - this will stop them cooking
further and ensure you have a runny yolk
at the end.
While they are cooling, make your Mayo.
Place 2 egg yolks in a large bowl. Add
the mustard and vinegar and whisk them
well until they are paler. Slowly drizzle
in the oil in a steady stream, whisking
continuously - this will emulsify the egg
yolk and it will thicken and become
glossy. Keep slowly adding until you
have added half of the oil.
At this stage squeeze in juice of ½ a
lemon. Then drizzle in remaining oil,
whisking continuously until all is added.
Season the mayonnaise with the chopped
tarragon, salt and some more lemon or
mustard to taste. Set aside.
Peel the quail eggs carefully as they
are delicate. It is quite therapeutic and
Time to assemble. Add fresh chopped
thyme to your sausage meat. Season
the plain flour well with salt and pepper.
Place a small amount in the palm of your
hand and press to flatten, place a quail
egg in the middle and cup your hand to
enclose the egg in the meat. Gently press
the sausage meat around the egg so it is
completely covered and there are no air
Next place the egg into the flour and
coat, then dust off the excess. Do the
same in the egg, and then followed by
the panko. Repeat with all the quail eggs.
Heat vegetable oil in a high sided pan so
it comes up 2 inches high. Heat until it
Fry the scotch eggs in batches for 2
minutes until golden brown on all sides
and crisp. Remove carefully with a slotted
spoon and drain on kitchen paper to
remove excess oil. Serve alongside the
BERRY AND LEMON
A version of the classic Italian dessert
(meaning semi-frozen), whipped egg
whites and cream stop the ice cream from
setting hard which makes it easy to cut.
PREP TIME: 50 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 4 HOURS
300g fresh or frozen summer berries
150g good quality lemon curd
1 tbsp limoncello (optional)
50g caster sugar
3 Large Clarence Court Burford Brown
10 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
400ml double cream
50g shelled unsalted, pistachios
(blanched if you can find them)
50g good quality shortbread biscuit
Line a 2lb loaf tin with a long strip of
greaseproof paper that lines the base
and goes up the shorter sides of the tin to
leave overhang, this makes it a lot easier
to remove or you can fully line the tin with
cling film. Then place the tin in the freezer
Place 150g of the berries into a small
saucepan. Simmer on a low heat for
around 20 minutes until the fruit has
broken down, strain through a sieve into
a bowl and allow to cool.
Mix the lemon curd with the limoncello (if
using) and place to one side. Meanwhile
place the egg yolks and sugar in a large
mixing bowl and whisk until pale then
stir in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl
whisk the cream to soft peaks. Then in
another bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff
peaks. Carefully fold with cream and egg
whites into the egg yolk mixture using a
large metal spoon.
Remove the tin from the freezer. Spoon
half of the semifreddo mixture into the
lined tin ripple in half of the blitzed berry
mixture and scatter in some whole berries
then spoon over the lemon curd mixture.
Spoon over the remaining semifreddo
mixture and ripple in the remaining berry
mixture. Reserve the remaining whole
berries for serving. Place the semifreddo
in the freezer uncovered for 4 hours, then
cover and freeze for at least another 4
hours or over-night.
When you’re nearly ready to serve,
remove the semifreddo from the freezer
and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
In a food processor blitz the shortbread
and pistachios together to make a crumb.
Turn the semifreddo out onto a serving
plate or board and scatter over crumb.
Slice and serve with the remaining fruit.
An impressive-looking but easy to make
cake, topped with cream cheese frosting
and lots of fresh fruit with the added floral
flavours of a little fresh rosemary! Duck
eggs help keep the sponge light and
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 40-50 MINUTES
150g baking spread or softened unsalted
butter (plus 50g softened unsalted butter
for frosting and for greasing)
100g caster sugar
4 tablespoons thick peach puree or
blitzed tinned or fresh peeled peach (or
just use 50g extra caster sugar)
2 Clarence Court Braddock Whites
150g self-raising flour, sieved
50g ground almonds
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped plus
extra sprigs for serving
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons natural or peach yoghurt
2 x 120g punnets blueberries
250g icing sugar sifted plus extra for
250g full-fat cream cheese
1 whole peach
Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C/ 320˚F/ gas
mark 3. Grease and line the base and
sides of a 20cm, deep round cake tin.
Place the spread or butter in a large
mixing bowl and add the sugar. Cream
together well in a mixer or with a wooden
spoon until soft and fluffy. Crack the
eggs into a jug and whisk with the
peach puree. Stir in a little at a time until
incorporated. Mix the flour, salt, ground
almonds, chopped rosemary and baking
powder in a mixing bowl then fold into
the butter and egg mix then stir in the
vanilla extract and yoghurt. Scatter in
half of one punnet of blueberries into the
prepared tin, followed by half the sponge
mixture. Top with the remaining ½ punnet
blueberries and finish with the rest of the
Place the cake in the oven and bake
for 45-50 minutes until golden and risen
or if a skewer is poked in the middle it
comes out clean. Remove the cake from
the oven and place on a cooling rack for
about 40 minutes. Carefully release the
cake from the tin and allow it rest on the
cooling rack until totally cool.
Place the icing sugar and 50g of softened
butter in a mixing bowl and mix well until
soft and fluffy. Mix in the cream cheese
until you have a whipped, stable frosting.
Transfer to a small bowl and pop in the
fridge to chill whilst the cake cools.
When ready to assemble place the
sponge on a serving plate or board.
Destone and slice the whole peach
into thin slices. Spread the frosting
over the top, scatter over the remaining
blueberries and peach slices. Sprinkle
over a few rosemary leaves and dust over
a little icing sugar. Serve with a cup of tea
or a fresh, crisp sparkling wine.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 11
Man of the sea
The Rockfish Boat
Mitch Tonks, image courtesy Steve Haywood
Sally Thomson was
delighted to catch up with
chef and entrepreneur -
Mitch Tonks who she has
known for over 25 years....
SALLY: HOW ARE YOU DOING?
Mitch: We are doing great! We are looking
forward to finally getting the restaurant
open. I think we are going to have a nice
bounce back, but what a strange time.
I’m one of the people that has benefited
and enjoyed it to be honest. Getting to my
age and not really taking any time off, I’ve
had lots of time to spend with the kids and
rethink things to make things better.
I’D LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT YOUR
BEAUTIFUL BOOK THE DISHES LOOK
MOUTH-WATERING. MY FIRST QUESTION
HOWEVER, IS HOW
HAVE YOU ADAPTED TO THE LOCKDOWN?
I must say that the first 2 weeks were
scary; I didn’t really know what was going
to happen, I knew how much money was
in the bank and how long that would last.
I had some truly beautiful and humbling
experiences where my children took care
of me, cooked for me and said: “Dad, you
just concentrate on work and we are going
to look after you and cook for you.” My son
Ben is a chef and works in The Seahorse
and so does my daughter along with Ben’s
partner who is now the general manager.
FANTASTIC, WHAT A LOVELY FAMILY AFFAIR!
It is, and it was lovely being at home with
them. When we started to think about
survival, “I thought this is it we are going to
survive this” We had 274 staff and I thought
we are going to get through this and I’m
going to take care of every single one of
you and come out the other side.
There was a lot to think about and we really
took care of people. During the time we
thought about, “How can we make this
better” and we started
pulling apart everything that was wrong
and thought how can we make it better?
These are things that we couldn’t do when
we were open, so we did a whole lot of
things like shortened inventory, better
shift patterns, closed the restaurant for an
hour in the afternoon, went down to a 4
day week in the winter, all the kind of stuff
that we didn’t have the foresight to do
WHEN SOMEONE IS SO ENGROSSED IN
MANAGING A BUSINESS IT’S SOMETIMES
HARD, THIS MUST HAVE GIVEN YOU THE
OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE A NEW VISION?
I think it was a bit of that, but I’m always
very outward looking with my business
any way but I think one of the challenges
was trying to get people to go along with
it as they would be like we’re too busy or
that’s not the way we do it. Everybody was
great, and I think I realised that we were
a lot more capable as I thought we were
which was great and hugely uplifting, so I
thought right I’m going to write a book. We
wrote the book in November after a really
good summer obviously we didn’t know
that we were going to be in lockdown the
first quarter. We were also working hard
on getting the planning permission for our
Salcombe restaurant which should be
ready next year. Then we started sending
12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
out boxes to people like a seafood meal for 2
and we suddenly built up to several hundred
boxes a week which was quite a considerable
What we did was open a fishmongers in
Brixham just before lockdown, so we ran it
from there sending out all these boxes. I then
started to reflect on my own behaviour at
home, how it had changed and how I was
buying my toilet roll, my chemicals, my meat
and things stuff that I had never bought on
mail order before and subscriptions and I
was really enjoying it. I started to think about
how much people had loved our boxes and
how Sainsbury’s had closed their fish counter
and I thought why can’t we set up a seafood
at home business so we completed buying
our fish supplier, we buy off the fish market
everyday we have our own boat out there
fishing so we bought that company and then
we bought another company that makes
sauces and things for us but also makes
things for Fortman & Mason and the big fancy
retailers. So, we are launching in July a really
innovated seafood at home business where
you will be able to buy amazingly fresh fish
packaged brilliantly, nice and easy recipes
available nationwide. Hopefully the reputation
will be great, and people will trust us, they
can see our fishing boats our restaurants and
they will want to buy fish from us.
KNOW YOU ARE EXTREMELY BUSY BUT WHAT
DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I’m a sailor, a big reader so I love to read,
and I love to cook and entertain at my house
with the children. I’m a sailor so I love to plan
voyages I can’t wait to get on the water, and
we are sailing our boat up to the West Coast
of Scotland. I’m leaving in 3 weeks and we
are going to try and live a little bit up there
and a little bit down here and just take some
LETS TALK ABOUT YOUR BOOK WHICH
LOOKS WONDERFUL. WHEN YOU DO YOUR
RECIPES WHAT INSPIRES YOU? DO YOU
DRAW ON YOUR EXPERIENCE OR DO YOU
LIKE TO CREATE NEW DISHES?
I think in this book I draw on my love of
seafood which is really nice and my own
experiences in the rock fish book there’s quite
a lot of new dishes things that I mainly cook
at home. What I really enjoyed about this
book is there’s no boundaries. This is food
that I love like Asian food Singapore Chilli
Crab (pictured top right) and Crispy fried Chilli
cuttlefish. It’s really great!
excel in education so when I
got a doctorate from Plymouth
University, I was very proud.
I had to stand up and do a
speech in front of the students
and I never imagined that
I would get to university
and receive an honorary
doctorate and it was my most
personal proudest moment of
Singapore Chilli Crab
I’VE NEVER WORKED WITH FRESH CRAB SO
MAYBE WHEN I NEXT COME DOWN YOU CAN
SHOW ME WHAT TO DO WITH IT.
I can definitely do that, and you know when
you eat a wonderful fresh crab it’s a mindblowing
YOU HAVE SOME FABULOUS ACCOLADES BOTH
ON YOUR WEBSITE AND IN THE LATEST BOOK
To be honest it’s not one of the things I ever
think about but they are very humbling. I think
the thing I was most proud of was the fact I
was a council house boy and didn’t really
THE ROCKFISH COOKBOOK BY
PUBLISHED BY JON CROFT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS TERRY
AVAILABLE AT ROCKFISH
RESTAURANTS AND ONLINE AT
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 13
with capers & red onion
By Mitch Tonks
I love canned seafood. It becomes something
different in the canning process. Oily fish like
tuna, mackerel and sardines are particularly
delicious. I have always wanted to can seafood
caught in the UK. Canning seems to be
something we don’t do much in this country yet
in ports across Brittany and northern Spain it
is quite a craft, and the canned anchovies and
tuna from those areas are revered the world
over. They’re even more expensive than the fresh
There is a healthy sardine fishery in Cornwall.
We bought a tonne of the new season’s catch
in 2019 and worked with a Spanish seafood
cannery to have the fish popped into cans.
We tasted them alongside the very best of the
Portuguese and Spanish rivals and arrived at the
conclusion that the Cornish sardines set the bar,
being fat, oily and delicious.
I’m often asked what you can do with canned
sardines. This is how I prepare them at home,
just a simple combination of ingredients. But the
sardine mayonnaise we make at the restaurants
is what transforms the dish.
1 x 140g can sardines
(I recommend Rockfish brand or Ortiz)
Sardine mayonnaise (see page 130)
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped curly parsley
1 dill pickle, finely sliced
2 slices of sourdough bread
salt and white pepper
Drain the oil from the can of sardines and use it
to make the mayonnaise.
Put the sardines in a bowl with the onion, capers,
parsley and pickle. Gently break up the fish but
leave nice chunks. Season. Toast the bread, then
heap the sardine mixture on top.
Serve the mayo on the side.
14 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
with garlic, olive oil,
chilli & rosemary
By Mitch Tonks
Cooking a fish ‘en papillote’, or in a bag, is an
excellent way to prepare it. The fish retains its
moistness and the other flavours that you add
really get a chance to develop with the flavours
of the fish to create something quite magical.
The combination of roasted garlic, chilli and
rosemary is a good one, as is thyme, lemon and
cumin. But you will find your own preferences.
Look for wild gilt head or black bream, or use
farmed gilt head bream, which are delicious and
perfectly acceptable. Ask your fishmonger to
scale and gut the fish and remove the head.
8 garlic cloves
100ml olive oil
2 whole sea bream, weighing about 450g each,
1 small fresh bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
4 sprigs of rosemary
50ml white wine
finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 160°C Fan/180°C/Gas
Place your garlic cloves, with the skin on, on
a small roasting tray, drizzle with a little of the
olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Roast for
10 minutes or until soft – you should be able to
squeeze the garlic from the skin. If not then just
cook a little longer. Set aside to cool slightly.
Turn up the oven to its maximum heat.
Cut out 2 pieces of baking parchment large
enough to enclose a fish. Lay the parchment on
the worktop and place the fish on it. Sprinkle the
chilli over the fish and place the peeled garlic
around it. Tuck some rosemary into the belly.
Sprinkle with salt and pour over the rest of the
olive oil. Fold the paper up and over the fish, and
just before you seal it up completely, pour the
wine into the corner, then finish sealing.
Place the parchment bags on a baking tray
and cook for 15 minutes. Cut the paper open,
sprinkle the fish with chopped parley and serve
straight from the bag.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 15
image from Studio McGee
DECOR HOW TO:
THE MODERN RUSTIC AESTHETIC
What do you get when you mix
mid-century modern furniture with
rustic materials and accents? A
perfectly modern rustic look! Kate,
the founder of online homewares
company Haus, delves into how you
can achieve the look in your home.
New to modern rustic style? You’ve
probably seen it before and just
didn’t know what to call it. It involves
comfortable but streamlined furniture,
natural elements, earth tones, and
reliance on rustic materials and decor.
This style is all over Instagram and
Pinterest, and brilliant designers like
Amber Interiors and Studio McGee often
design rooms that you could easily say
are of this style.
Comfort is key with this look. So, the
largest pieces of furniture in any modern
rustic room should be streamlined
but never skimp on comfort. In living
rooms, start with cosy oversized sofas.
In bedrooms, opt for plush, upholstered
beds. For a dining room, look for an
oversized, rustic wood dining table
around which big groups can gather.
But, while prioritizing comfort, make sure
the furniture lines are clean and simple to
keep the look modern.
Add Mid-Century Modern
Once the comfortable foundation is
laid, introduce a more mid-century or
eclectic vibe. At first it may seem odd
to mix these styles—but the contrast
they create is what makes this look so
dynamic and fun.
An easy place to do this is with your
accent furniture. Think of an eclectic
woven leather armchair or a coffee or
bedside table with an antique flair. In
dining rooms, pair your farmhouse dining
table with more modern seating, like
Wishbone or Eames shell chairs.
A family-friendly style by nature,
modern rustic interiors often have more
symmetrical layouts that are geared
toward large gatherings and facilitate
conversations. (Hence the huge, rustic
dining table we suggested above.) This
is where the look leans more rustic and
formal rather than modern and eclectic.
Layer on Natural
When bringing the modern
rustic style to life, we love
the opportunity to play
with textures and different
materials. This keeps a
room looking liveable and
approachable. Look for natural
materials like seagrass, jute,
ceramics, leather, and liveedge
woods—then mix and
match them together in one
space, incorporating them
in furniture, lighting, and decor accents!
This helps the room feel dynamic and
We love introducing lots of texture with
soft furnishings too - think of fringing
and tufts plus artisanal products like the
gorgeously tactile mudcloth cushions,
with their handwoven texture and
abundance of prints and patterns.
With modern rustic, light fixtures are
often industrial with sleek, streamlined
forms that are sculptural in nature. Look
for matte black or antique brass options,
or even rattan and include multi-level
Shop the range of artisanal
homewares at www.hauslife.co.uk
Fox Club Chair,
Tray, £40, sweetpeaandwillow.com
16 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
image from modsy.com
Cosmia Tassel Throw,
Anouk Pillow Cover
(also available in coral),
image from One Affirmation
image from Studio McGee
items in your
home to nail the
Anouk Pillow Cover,
Wells Bubble Vase
Boston Reclaimed Wood
Coffee Table, £314,
Extra Long Calliope
Lumbar Cushion, £75,
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 17
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18 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Image from Fireclay
Tiles x Jessica Davis
Tiles can really reflect your personality, so you
don’t need to go with trends, but they can
be inspiring. This season sees a lean toward
inviting, earthy tones and using floor tiles up to
half height on the walls. Geometric tiles are still
hugely popular, and lots of ranges are bringing
out ceramic versions of en-caustic tiles for
Fascination kitchen by
Mowlem & Co
1 Kyoto Green Wall Tiles, £1.36 per tile
(304x76mm), www.londontile.co.uk; 2 Kromatika
Green Tile, £39.95 per sqm,
www.tilemountain.co.uk; 3 Bella Craquele,
£35.99, www.tilemountain.co.uk; 4 Priory
Cross Encaustic Effect, £1.06
per tile, www.londontile.
Image from @studiomcgee
Image from @houselust
Trends not to be missed...
1 Zuiver Dendron
Side Table, £89,
com; 2 Cushions from Modern
Vintage Collection, www.hauslife.co.uk;
3 Leather Foostool, £1839.50, www.
4 1950s Brass and
Holder Model 4019 by
Carl Auböck, Austria,
This trend combines
a focus on integrity
of items (think antiques)
alongside comfort. It’s a lived-in
look that envelops - large convivial
pieces of furniture, paired with lots of
texture. Hardwood floors are key to
this style, as is a strong architectural
framework to the room.
The colour palette for this look tends
to be very neutral, focusing on a mix
of taupes, whites, creams and beiges,
intermixed with framing black and
other earth tones, like terracotta and
wood. Finally, small pops of colour can
be added in soft furnishings.
Inventive mixes of different finishes
have been really evident in lots of
kitchens this year - choosing surfaces
which age with a nice patina can also
add to the depth of the space - think
about brass and wood, or concrete
with stainless steel. Natural textures
should really shine through.
1 Sione Pendant, £45,
2 Raegan Dining Table, £1176,
3 Whole Birch Kitchen Door,
4 Cement Taupe Concrete
Effect Tile, £18.95,
Image from @amberinteriors
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 19
sit back and relax
with Buy To Let Hunter
This month we asked Adrian, founder of Buy To Let
Hunter, if he is still able to get a great deal for his
clients who are looking to invest in property...
We can see that house prices are clearly
rising. The South East is currently
increasing at a rate of 7.9% annually,
which is actually ranking relatively low
on the official countrywide chart - some
areas have seen a 14% annual growth.
The places we are sourcing for our clients
are seeing 4-5% growth, which, we feel,
is a good rate without creating a possible
bubble. Slow and steady!
What about the potential oversupply of
property and backlash as the market
These areas we are buying in are
generally protected against that, so while
corrections might be possible in the
market in general they are unlikely - or,
I think, at the very least minimal - in the
right parts of the South East. I am sure
that our instincts will prove correct, and I
am quietly confident this gradual growth
will continue and remain sustainable.
Are people’s pandemic fears impacting
travel and bookings for the “serviced
accommodation” and holiday lets this
As lockdown starts to ease, we are
thrilled to report that May has seen the
highest occupancy so far this year: an
astonishing 99.1%. We have also noted
that the market is supporting slightly
higher rental rates as well, so we are
gently increasing ours in line with this
trend. We have already seen a 10%
increase and it’s continuing to go up
in June. As suspected, the boom for
“staycations” is well established and
our holiday home rates for the summer
season are through the roof.
What is it that makes Buy To Let
Hunter so different?
I do think we are offering an unusual and
varied product – we can answer so many
of the questions our client’s may have
about what to buy and where, and also
recommend a short-term or serviced let,
something flexible or a dedicated holiday
home. We guide our clients all the way
through the process, either because they
have no knowledge about the industry or
because they are too busy to be involved
themselves – our clients can really make
money from an investment property with
very little prior knowledge about real
estate or a great deal of personal effort
– they can be as involved or not as they
We have a streamlined system
established to arrange any maintenance,
decoration and furnishing and a team
who really care about you and your
guests who will manage your properties.
We are a great combination of oldfashioned
values and long-serving,
mature staff service married to whizzy
technology, all in a friendly package –
happy clients, happy guests, happy staff
- everyone’s a winner!
How are the projected returns for the
serviced accommodation market?
While property prices have increased,
we are still maintaining a healthy 10%
ROI for our serviced accommodation
clients. Finding the right properties may
be harder, I am definitely having to work
harder, but negotiating the right purchase
prices is still possible. Nationally, 30%
of real estate deals fall through; however
with our no nonsense approach, BTLH
has a better than 90% completion rate
on properties at the moment - proving
that great buyers are as important as a
Can BTLH help you find the perfect
property? Get in touch and have
a chat: 020 7550 9396 or
For more information check out
Quadrant Road, Richmond,
London, TW9 1DH
20 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Do you want
10% returns from
No jargon here. No Egos.
No high-pressure sales tactics.
Just simple & honest advice.
Find out how to get a double digit return
on property in a town near London.
Give us a call:
020 7550 9396
Send an email:
Adam Frost is an
television presenter and
Best known for his
successes at RHS Chelsea
Flower Show, he is
passionate about inspiring
adults and children
alike to create their
own gardens and watch
hedgerows spring to life.
Sally Thomson caught up
with him to discuss all
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT GEOFF
It was originally in North Devon Parks
depart that I did my apprenticeship and
then I went to work for Geoff when I was
21 years old and then spent an amazing
mind blowing, not that I think you realise
it in your early 20s working 6-7 years with
Geoff until he passed away in 96.
AN INSPIRATIONAL MAN I SHOULD
Yes, looking back I don’t think you
realised what he was talking about, Peat
free gardening, Organic gardening, stop
ripping up limestone pavements and
destroying the countryside all the things
that were way before their time really. We
are now 30 years on and we’ve only just
decided to ban peat. I think in reality he
set my gardening moral compass.
HIS SON HAS GONE INTO THE SAME
LINE OF WORK ALSO?
He had 3 sons but Nick the middle son
was left the garden & nursery, so he’s got
Barnwell plants and gardens.
TELL ME HOW THE GARDENER’S
WORLD EVENT WENT AT BEAULIEU?
I had a lovely weekend! I’d be lying if I
didn’t say I was a bit nervous. I had just
had my 2nd injection It was the first time
I had done anything in a public arena for
about 18 months! You realise that all the
shows are now your general catch up.
WITH THE PANDEMIC DID YOU FIND
IT STRANGE NOT BEING OUT &
ABOUT WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Definitely, We run a school as well so
we had to close that. I did some stuff on
zoom like most people but that’s a very
strange experience. I’ve never spent
so much time at home or in the garden
through the summer months with my wife
& kids which was a mixed blessing and
gave me time to stop which I don’t think
I’ve done since I was 16.
I BET YOU MISSED THE VIBE OF
BEING AT CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW?
I was due to go back and do a garden
in 2020 so that went but it looks we will
be able to go back in September and
22 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
do some filming but I’m not building
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING A
GARDEN FOR CHELSEA?
It can be 12 months to 2 years planning
but at one point I was doing them back to
back finishing one then moving straight
onto the next one. But it’s fascinating, it’s
how I built my career.
“I think ultimately
gardens are about
4 things; People,
Space, Plants and
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR
FIRST CHELSEA GOLD?
If I’m honest, I think I was slightly
oblivious to what they actually meant. My
dad was a landscaper and he built early
John Brooks gardens in the early 70s I
recently met Professor David Stevens
Garden designer who also worked for
John Brooks. We were talking about
Chelsea and he said that my dad would
have been a few gardens along from
where we were. David also taught me a
lot about design in that sense.
WHEN YOU START A DESIGN IS IT
FROM A THOUGHT OR ARE YOU
PLANNING IT IN ADVANCE?
It depends on whether its for a client.
I think ultimately gardens are about 4
things; People, Space, Plants and Place.
It’s normally one of those that I tap into
first and it might be a bit of landscape
it might be an individual picture I’ve
seen it might be the shape of something
whatever it is that gives me an insight
into a person or if it’s a show garden what
particular design will drive it that’s how I
start and then create from there.
DO YOU THINK BEAULIEU WILL BE A
REGULAR EVENT NOW?
I think so, I walked in and thought
what a glorious piece of landscape
and the moment I walked in the gate it
had a good feel. People really enjoyed
themselves and as a setting it had quite a
lovely intimate feel to it, even the stages
had an open canopy, and everybody
was sensible and had plenty of space.
The standard of the displays was really
good and Hilliers had gone there and
built a garden, so it was great that you
had something there of Hilliers quality. I
think a positive out of the last 15 months
is that people have slowed down have
connected or reconnected with what’s
outside their back door or in the area.
I’ve seen a report saying we now have
3 million new gardeners. Everybody
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 23
you talk to in the industry says that
the hunger from last year is still there
which is great. I just hope in a way that
stays. I think even the people that knew
gardening was good for you physically
and mentally, even for me I don’t think I
realised how important it was to my life.
I FIND IT VERY THERAPEUTIC AND
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
It’s interesting that we are seeing
statistics people moving out of cities
and into the countryside and are wanting
bigger gardens it wasn’t that long-ago
people were downsizing and didn’t want
a big outdoor space and this time has
now changed that.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN
RHS AMBASSADOR? WHAT DOES
Yes, I’ve done that for quite a few years
now. Basically, I help them with stuff
looking at helping youngsters to engage
more through events and I did a lot
of work a while back with Homebase
creating apprenticeships so that’s how it
started. I also do a lot of community stuff
with RHS and I’m just about to start a
new project which I can’t say too much
about which will be good. I have travelled
all over to schools, events for them. I
was brought up just outside London and
wasn’t the best behaved, I’m dyslexic
and obviously I’ve done OK and I think
that’s why they wanted me to help.
YOU ARE AT THE NEC IN THE
SUMMER WHAT WILL THAT INVOLVE?
I normally go from stage to stage and talk
all things gardening and there’s different
themes on different stages from talking
about Grow your Own, Unusual edibles,
soil & compost so all sorts really. What
I love about that show is you have the
gardens and displays but it also interlinks
with food and because its at the NEC if
we do have poor weather people can get
inside. Because it’s such a large venue
everything will feel alright.
DO YOU DO ANY JUDGING IN YOUR
I’ve been asked, and I’ve done bits and
pieces, but I don’t really like to just turn
up and judge other people’s work.
SO, AT CHELSEA FOR EXAMPLE ARE
YOU THERE WHEN THE JUDGES
You have a 2 minute conversation the day
before to explain if anything has changed
or there have been any adjustments
to the design. They then arrive at your
garden anytime between 7:30 and
9:30am on the day and you must be away
from your garden. Then you have another
24 hours until you find out the result.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT
YOU HAD AN APTITUDE FOR
I don’t think I did really, I love what I do I
think it just happened. I was talking to a
Robert Hillier at Chelsea and he said can
you remember the conversation we had
in 2015 where you said the BBC want
me to do some presenting as they think
I’m half decent and he said are you sure
that’s what you want to do and you said
I don’t know but I’ll give it a go and here
we are now.
“I would say to
anybody there is
so much glorious
flower colour foliage
colour stem colour
to be had and the
light is different so
the atmosphere is
different you can
still wrap up and
enjoy it just don’t
chase perfection just
enjoy the moments.”
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE OUR
READERS TO DO TO THEIR GARDENS
Don’t disengage with the garden, I think
we get to September the kids go back to
school and people pack up their gardens.
I think our environment has changed
so much that you cant month to month
garden anymore you have to react to the
month you are in September, October
and even going into November we can
still have some cracking days and only
have our first frosts going into December
so I would say to anybody there is so
much glorious flower colour foliage
colour stem colour to be had and the light
is different so the atmosphere is different
you can still wrap up and enjoy it just
don’t disengage. Don’t chase perfection
just enjoy the moments.
Adam Frost, along with other gardening
celebrities, will be appearing at the NEC
in Birmingham from Thursday August 26
to Sunday August 29.
For ticket information, please visit
24 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Your Summer Garden
with RHS Wisley
Summer’s in full force and in typical UK
fashion it’s a good mix of sunshine and
showers, great for the garden!
There’s still time to create instant
summer impact in borders and baskets,
and with pick-up-and-grow kits for
beginners to more unusual plants for
more experienced gardeners, now is a
great time to visit the RHS Wisley Garden
Centre for inspiration and advice.
This months’ garden centre highlights:
• Dahlias continue to look amazing
at this time of year. UK specialist
nursery Pheasant Acre Plants grow
our stunning dahlias in peat-free
soil so not only will you be adding
amazing colour to your garden but
you’ll also be supporting British by
buying one of our dazzling dahlia.
• Hydrangeas are fantastic for
colour throughout summer and into
autumn. Our wide varieties suit all
garden colour schemes, some even
changing colour throughout their
• Cannas produce bold leaves
and fabulous flowers in vibrant
shades of red, orange, yellow and
pink. They’re the perfect summer
bedding plant for both borders and
Keeping kids enthused
The RHS Wisley Garden Centre is a great
start point for children in their growing
journey and the summer holidays are
the ideal time to help nurture their green
fingers. From something as simple as
being in charge of watering plants,
growing their own small colourful
container, or even being in charge
of decorating plant pots ready for
spring flowering bulbs to be planted in
September, there are plenty of ‘jobs’
that can keep little ones busy on warm
summer days. The RHS Let’s Get
Gardening book is full of ideas for small
gardening projects for kids. From bughunters,
tools & accessories, to special
kits designed for budding gardeners,
you’ll find everything little hands need to
help with their outdoor jobs.
Where to find us?
RHS Wisley Garden Centre, Woking,
Surrey GU23 6QB
Tel: 01483 224234
Sun: 11-5pm (browsing from 10.30)
Treat yourself during
your next visit to our
RHS Garden Centres
with £5 off a £30 shop
Present this voucher or quote
SUMMERSAVE to staff when
paying at the till in RHS Garden
Centres before midday and
receive £5 off when you spend
a minimum of £30.
Full terms & conditions:
Voucher valid for use in RHS Garden Centres
only. Voucher only valid for use before midday.
Voucher valid for use on plants and gifts.
Minimum spend of £30 required in order to
save £5. Only one voucher per transaction.
No cash alternatives available. Not valid in
conjunction with any other offer or discount. Not
valid on purchases of RHS Membership or Gift
Vouchers. Voucher may only be used once and
must be surrendered at the till. Not valid for use
online. Voucher valid until 23:59 Thursday 30th
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 25
Candela Pendant Electric Patio
Heater, £99.99, gardenesque.com
Idbury Fire Pit, £85,
Recycled Wool Waterproof Picnic
Blanket in Stewart Muted Blue Tartan,
HERE ARE THE LATEST TRENDS TO HELP YOU
CREATE YOUR PERFECT OUTDOOR SPACE
FOR ENTERTAINING FRIENDS AND FAMILY OR
CHILLING OUT AND CATCHING SOME RAYS...
Large Moroccan Solar Lantern,
Tanso 2 Seater Sofa, £2015,
26 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
10 Warm White LED Ultimate Flex
Festoon Lights, £59.99, lights4fun.co.uk
Diamond Throw, 130 x 180 cm,
Green, £40, peppersq.com
3m Deluxe Round
Aluminium Grey Parasol,
Bistro Patio Set, £120,
Seaton Lightweight Steel
Fire Pit With Grate, £279.99,
Pair of Hampstead Armchairs,
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 27
3m Sun shade sail, £299, dobbies.com
Beanbag, Grey, £399,
Ada Botanical White & Green
Outdoor Rug, £17.99,
Metal Lanterns, £29,
Complete Outdoor Kitchen,
Charcoal Grey Art Deco Geometric
Print Outdoor Cushion, £14.99,
28 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
TONIQ On Demand
We caught up with personal trainer Arron Collins-Thomas to find out about his new
online fitness offering, expanded from his very successful gym TONIQ...
Your gym, with its fully-rounded approach to health and
lifestyle, has made national news for its incredible client
results – what will the app offer?
At TONIQ we recognise that good health is more than just
regular workouts, it encompasses taking care of every aspect
of your body. We have created a solution where everything from
nutrition, mindfulness, amazing workouts, yoga and more is
available with guidance from fantastic trainers and experts in
Not only this, but as part of TOD you have access to your own
coach, ensuring that you have someone you can speak to, to
keep you on track and accountable as well as supporting you
We have had some incredible results over the past few years at
TONIQ and we want to be able to bring those results to more
people. With the app we aim to give anyone, anywhere in the
world, a taste of the TONIQ-life.
As a TONIQ On Demand member you get to join the incredible
community online, have access to our on demand workouts as
well as live workouts, Q&As and educational talks. We have an
incredible coaching team with a huge array of skills to bring to
you including yoga, qigong, nutrition and mindfulness.
The main workouts are written based on what we are up to at
TONIQ in any given training block and a new phase of workouts
launches every 6 weeks on the app as well as regular bonus
content to keep the training varied and inspiring.
Can you get a good experience with online coaching?
Are you accountable and is it personalised?
With TOD you have a designated TONIQ coach who you speak
to on a one to one basis. When you first sign up with us you
will have a call to help you set up your accountability sheets,
help you curate your workout schedule and set you on the
right nutrition plan for you. Then every month you get another
call with your coach to help keep you on track and answer any
questions you may have. Accountability is key if you really want
to get results and that is one of the reasons why TONIQ has
been so successful.
Are the classes accessible no matter your fitness level?
Some of us are self-conscious about going to the gym or
nervous in COVID times.
No matter what your levels of fitness we can help you. Our
expert coach will advise what level to start at for you and
how hard to push yourself in the first consultation you have
with them. It will be based around your fitness and any health
concerns, so you can feel secure in the fact that you won’t be
over training or causing yourself any harm by taking part in our
For people who aren’t ready for the gym again yet or who are
self conscious TONIQ On Demand is the perfect choice. You get
personal trainer support and expert written workouts, all from
the comfort of your own home.
You also get to join a great online community who share their
experiences and help support each other to get the results they
TONIQ ON DEMAND
MORE THAN A WORKOUT
Join our community from anywhere, at anytime with
TONIQ on Demand, our app gives you access to:
Personalised plans developed with expert coaches.
Nutrition plans based on your needs and goals.
Monthly 121 check in calls with an expert coach.
Extensive library of classes including SWEAT, STRONGER,
BURN and CHILL.
Visit TONIQLIFE.COM to find out more
Katie Thomson shares tips
for getting your financial
ducks in a row for a happy
Retirement planning is a multi-faceted
process which evolves over time - to
have a comfortable and secure future,
you have to have the means to fund
it. Fewer people have access to the
guaranteed income that comes with a
final salary pension, and with longer to
wait until eligibility for the state pension,
it’s pertinent to start planning as early as
possible for the retirement you want. The
better prepared you are now, the better
your retirement will be.
There are many strands to retirement
planning, and much of it depends on
your stage of life. It’s important to seek
advice from a registered financial planner
who can help you make the most of your
There are some handy way points to help
you get a grasp on where you are and
what you will need - here’s a checklist of
things to consider:
Understand what your retirement
income is likely to be:
You will be adding to your pension fund
during your working life, but it’s important
you get a handle on your various pension
pots to forecast the actual figure you will
have access to.
Check your state pension:
The rising state pension age can have a
real knock-on effect to your retirement
planning - a state pension forecast will
help you to gauge how much you’re on
course to get from the government.
Get an understanding of your
Having an idea of your expenditure will
help you plan longer-term. Your living
costs are likely to be a lot lower than
in other phases of life - you might be
mortgage-free and you don’t have the
same costs for commuting, recreation or
childcare for example.
You may wish to improve your home
or go on some amazing trips, so it’s
important you know you have the
financial reserves to do this.
When should you start drawing a
You don’t have to stop working to draw
down your pension - as long as you
are over the age of 55 - but be aware,
the sooner you start dipping into it, the
sooner the pot will deplete.
How much will retirement cost?
This is the golden question, and really
depends on the level of comfort or luxury
you are looking for in your autumn years.
A recent Which? study found that the
average retired household (those living
alone or as couples) spent an around
£2,170 per month - this is covering all
the basic areas of expenditure and some
luxuries like European holidays. Those
looking for a more luxurious lifestyle
including longer-haul trips and new cars
every five years would need to allow
for approximately £3,400 per month, or
£41,000 per year.
Once you have a framework for the
amount you’ll need, and what you are
on track for saving, you also need to
consider how you will access your
pension pots - these might be state
pension, a final salary pension and a
money purchase/defined contribution
With your defined contribution pot,
such as the one you might get in the
government employee scheme, you can
draw the entire pension pot in one go,
but this will mean it’s entirely down to
you to make the money last and you’ll
invariably pay a substantial tax bill. Most
people with these pensions will opt for
income drawdown or an annuity, or a
combination of both when it comes
taking money out of their pension.
With careful planning and accurate
forecasting, your retirement can be
something to really look forward to, but
it is essential to make an assessment of
your position as early as possible and
use the advice of experts to make your
money work harder for you.
30 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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