Henley and Marlow Lifestyle Nov - Dec 2021


Blaser Mills Law set to open

new office in the heart of Marlow

Blaser Mills Law is set to expand its local and national

operation into Marlow in November of this year, with a strong

focus on continuing to bring its wide range of expertise and

experience to the local community.

The 150-strong firm has established

local roots in Marlow over many years,

both in terms of advising clients and in

the fact that many of its team, including

CEO Dave Matthews, are residents of

the town; reinforcing these strong local

connections was the logical next step.

Marlow is an area that has always

been of high importance to us,” said

Matthews, “We have served Marlow

clients from our High Wycombe office

for many years but having an actual

physical presence – a Marlow face if

you like – will enable us to deliver our full

capabilities to the local community from

the heart of the town”.

The office will be based in Liston

Exchange, in the gardens behind

Liston Court, just off the High Street in

central Marlow, and will be headed up

by Partner Jonathan Gallop, a Marlow

resident and Head of the Wills, Trusts

and Probate team.

The office will also house Lucinda

Holliday – Partner and Head of the

Family & Divorce team who has spent

many years living and working in the

town and Samantha Bellia - Senior

Associate in the Residential Property

team who worked for many years at a

firm on Marlow High Street.

Holliday said: “We are extremely excited

to be opening a base in Marlow and we

are very much the advance party. We

plan to increase our number in the new

office over the next several months to

build a team that is highly approachable

and always professional. As the firm has

continued to expand in recent years the

range of services we are able to deliver

has also increased, meaning our clients

in Marlow can benefit from our depth of

experience and resources across the

wider business. We can’t wait to bring

the people-focused approach we have

become known for to the town, and to

build further on the strong roots we have

within the community.”

Dave Matthews added: “We are a firm

that genuinely values a local focus but,

unlike most local law firms, we are able

to back that up with nationally-ranked

expertise and depth – as well as helping

local people and businesses we also

act for household-name companies,

political parties, major sporting

institutions and sports stars”.

But it is not just a professional presence

the firm is looking to build. We have a

proud record in diversity and inclusion

within Blaser Mills – our statistics speak

for themselves - and we look to support

and engage with a similarly diverse

range of local causes and initiatives.

Our teams are looking forward to

welcoming you to the office and

connecting with the local

community, a few of us are even

dusting off our running shoes

for the Marlow Fun Run!”

About Blaser Mills

With existing offices in London,

High Wycombe, Amersham, and

Silverstone, Blaser Mills Law has

become recognised as one of the

top full-service law firms in London

and the Southeast.

The firm consistently ranks in the

Legal 500 and Chambers UK

Guide and, last year, secured a

spot in the Legal 500 rankings for

the seventh year running, with

10 practice areas listed and an

additional 31 lawyers recommended.

For more information,

visit www.blasermills.co.uk

or call +44 (0) 20 3814 2020

@BlaserMillsLaw blaser-mills BlaserMillsLaw


A Note

from the EDITOR



A Culinary Journey through

Northern Ireland bedroom perfection

It’s certainly the challenge of

publishing that you always have your

head in the wrong season - each year,

Christmas begins for us in July, which

is about the same time as I start to

ask my friends and family what they’d

like as a present or if they’re free for a

meal in December - each year I’m met

with the same furrowed brows and

a ‘my god, I haven’t started thinking

about that yet!’

Forward planning aside, it is a rather

lovely, smug feeling to know that I’m

mostly sorted for the festivities - my

only issue being losing said gifts

between July and December 25th. If

your industry doesn’t quite prepare

you in the same way though, we’ve

got a bevy of festive features to help

get you prepped.

Our competition

page returns


Alongside Christmas features,

we’ve got a lovely interview with

The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda

Owen, plus some delicious recipes

from her new book.

If you’re receiving guests this year,

we’ve got some inspiration on

creating the perfect guest room

sanctuary. And if festive madness all

gets too much, you can always slip in

there yourself!

Yorkshire Shepherdess

Amanda Owen


Key Account Manager Ben Hollis

e ben.hollis@minervapublications.co.uk

d/l 01225 984503

twitter: @HenleyMarlow

Editor Katie Thomson

e katie.thomson@minervapublications.co.uk


Recipes from

Amanda’s new book

Publisher Sally Thomson

Pre-Press Manager Kate Norris

Contributors Rebecca Rose, Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs

Angela Cave and Pete Lawrence. Front cover courtesy of Amanda Owen


Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton

Trowbridge BA14 6JB

t 01225 984 550

visit our website www.minervamagazines.co.uk

Disclaimer: The publishers shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by failure of an

advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions and

misprints. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission from the

publishers. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the publishers.

The news has been all doom and

gloom of late, but I think it’s important

that, toy shortage/turkey drama/fuel

crisis or not, this year’s Christmas is

looking so much brighter than 2020’s,

and there’s so much to be thankful

for. This quote from the legendary Bob

Hope really captured that for me:

“My idea of Christmas, whether

old-fashioned or modern, is very

simple: loving others. Come to

think of it, why do we have to

wait for Christmas to do that?”

We are looking forward to seeing

you again in January - we are doing

away with the New Year, New You

nonsense and instead focusing

on what 2022 can offer you. Until

then, take care, have a very Merry

Christmas and a peaceful New Year.


www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 3


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The Good Schools Guide offers some suggestions to take into consideration when making the change

Whether you want to change from a

single sex school to co-ed or from day to

boarding, private to state, A levels to IB -

or vice versa there are plenty of reasons to

move schools post - GCSEs.

When to start looking

We’d advise getting the ball rolling

towards the end of their year 10 in time

for sixth form open days and applications

which generally take place the following


Discussions about post-GCSE options

will already be taking place at your child’s

current school by then and looking at

other sixth forms will widen your options.

Maybe the broader based curriculum

of the IB would suit them better than

specialising at A level? Maybe they want

to pursue a more practical, less exam

based, route? Or perhaps your child

simply feels ready for a fresh start and

new faces.

Choosing a new sixth form

The decision needs to be a joint effort

between parents and children, based as

much on personal preference as objective

research. Your child may have formed

opinions about other schools via friends

and social media but however popular a

particular sixth form may be, it’s no good

if it doesn’t offer the subjects they want

to study.

Guide your child to consider the areas

of study they genuinely enjoy or find

interesting. Also bear in mind that the

demands of some A levels, such as

maths, are a big jump from GCSE and

most schools will set higher GCSE grade

requirements for these.

It may seem too early when your child

hasn’t even finished their GCSE courses

to start talking about university subjects

and destinations, but if they are going to

change school for sixth form it’s important

to at least start thinking about the ultimate

goal. For instance, if Oxbridge or medical

school is the aim then A level choices

need to be made accordingly and a

potential school’s record of Oxbridge and

medical school places taken into account.

If university isn’t part of the plan then you’ll

need to ask the school or college about

provision for pupils who are interested in

alternative post-18 options such as degree


You can find latest information on a

school’s Oxbridge, medical school and

non-university destinations in the ‘Exit’

section of The Good Schools Guide


Day to boarding

A move to boarding school for sixth form

- see this article for more - is often said

to be a good preparation for university.

But manage your expectations – in our

experience most sixth form boarding

accommodation is more luxurious than the

average university hall of residence!

Most boarding schools have separate

provision for sixth formers where they can

live more independently and with fewer

restrictions than younger pupils. If you

are looking at full, as opposed to weekly,

boarding then find out how many sixth

formers are in school at weekends and

what activities are on offer (our writers

suggest looking at boarding house

noticeboards to see sign-up sheets for

weekend activities).

While it’s usually possible, with

permission, for boarding sixth formers to

attend day pupils’ parties for instance,

it’s unlikely that any school will allow the

same freedom to socialise (particularly

with regard to sexual relationships) as day

school pupils. Discuss school rules and

regulations frankly with your child - if they

(or you) are horrified then maybe boarding

isn’t the right choice.

Independent to state

A move from independent to state school

is often determined by family finances, but

we wonder whether it could also now be a

strategic decision.

State school sixth forms or sixth form

colleges often have exam results that are

comparable to independent schools and

they may also offer a wider range of post-

GCSE choices.

And as the UK’s top universities strive to

rebalance their admissions procedures to

correct what was (rightly) criticised as an

independent school bias, will this prompt

more independent school parents to send

their children to take A levels at state sixth

forms? Time will tell.

State to independent

If you think your child would benefit from

taking A levels at an independent school

but are worried about affording the fees, it

could be worth checking whether you can

apply for a bursary. Some schools offer

bursaries specifically for pupils joining the

sixth form from the local state sector.

Entry requirements

These differ considerably but five or six

GCSEs including English and maths at

grade 6 or above, with grade 7 or higher

in subjects to be studied at A level (can

be 8 or 9 for maths/further maths), is the

minimum for most selective schools.

Many schools set the sixth form entry

bar much higher and in addition to a

full set of GCSEs at grades 9-7, also

expect candidates to sit papers in their

prospective A level subjects. Schools will

usually interview prospective sixth formers


The Good Schools Guide is the UK’s

number one school guide, helping

parents in every aspect of choosing

the best education for their children

using their unbiased and impartial

school reviews, alongside a host of

articles advising on all aspects of

school life. Find out more at www.


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www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 11

Amanda Owen

The yorkshire Shepherdess

Tells us about her life in the Dales

Known to millions as The Yorkshire

Shepherdess, Amanda Owen is the author

of five best-selling books about her life

on Ravenseat ,one of the most remote

farms in the country, where she lives with

her husband Clive and nine children. She

currently stars in Channel 5’s popular TV

show Our Yorkshire Farm and her latest

book is Celebrating the Seasons includes

stories, recipes and photos from the farm

and is out now.

I understand that you had had no

previous links to farming, may I ask

how you became so involved in this line

of work?

I grew up in Huddersfield and no one in

my family is from a farming background.

I loved the James Herriot books when I

was a child, and watched the TV series.

Because of James Herriot I loved the idea

of being a vet, probably like most other

children of that era, but was told at school

that I was not academic enough to make

the grades. One day in the school library

I picked up a book called Hill Shepherd.

It was a photographic documentary of

hill farming in Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Reading that book was an epiphany for

me, the pictures of the hill shepherds on

the moors with the sheep made me realise

it was where I wanted to be. It ticked the

box of wanting to work with animals in

the countryside and importantly it also

ticked the rebellion box as it was so the

opposite of my townie life up until then.

Years later after I had married my husband

Clive, we realised that there was actually a

photograph of him in Hill Shepherd! So it’s

a very important book to me.

How did you learn your crafts? One of

the many things I learnt from your book

was how important it is to get the grass

in - in good time.

I started out as a farm hand, and then

moved on to being a contract shepherd,

working on different farms all over the

country. But really, I learnt everything as I

went along.

Most of my crafts came through natural

progression, learning to ride a horse

by riding it, learning to clip a sheep by

clipping my first one, learning to work a

dog, by taking the dog out with me for the

first time.

You can only learn what to do by doing it,

you have to get practical on the ground

experience. Nothing comes close to

learning how to be a shepherd, other than

actually doing the work of a shepherd and

it’s not just about learning about sheep,

it’s about learning about the land.

With the grass it starts with the sheep.

You’ve got to have your sheep in good

order - we grow hardy stock through the

winter, so it’s absolutely vital that you grow

your crop well, so they have food to eat

throughout the winter.

You enjoy sheep shearing - were you

nervous when you cut your first fleece?

Of course, but you know, you have to be

nervous in order to be any good at what

you’re doing. If you’re lambing sheep you

are dealing with nature first hand, but

there is no room for you to have time to

be nervous as you have to get on with the

job. It’s you alone in that moment and it’s

not optional to be nervous. That pressure

makes you work fast.

The first time I clipped, I would clip the

sheep while the professional shearers

were having their dinner, and they

would encourage me or discourage me

depending on what I was doing, and then

the more you do it you get faster. You

keep practicing and eventually you will

get there.

How do you spread yourself between

9 children - it must quite a noisy

household at times?

It is a noisy household. But we’re very

privileged to live where we do which

12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

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means that there’s plenty of room for

everybody to get some space outside. I

enjoy the busyness and noise of family

life in the house. But I can get away from

it by walking out my front door. Plenty

of people can’t as they leave their front

door and if they live in a city, it’s still loud

and busy when they get out. We’re lucky

here to have the wide open spaces and

the kids spend a lot of time outdoors.

We’re working farm and that means that

everyone mucks in - no matter what

the age, it could be collecting hen’s

eggs, feeding the horses, or helping find

uniforms for everyone, also cooking. Real

dough is just as good as playdough and

the kids love learning to cook. The only

time when we all come together is tea time

at the farm, when we all come together to

eat, it’s my favourite time of day, when I

get to hear what everyone’s been up to on

the farm and school.

Your children must have a wonderful

time and appear to have no fears with

any of the animals. Do they each have a

special one?

I suppose they do. Quite a lot of the girls

loves the horses. Violet loves the cows,

she was excited recently that our pet cow,

Ciara has now come in from the fields.

Violet hand reared Ciara from a calf, so

she thinks she belongs inside the house

and doesn’t like the other cows. Miles is

very taken with the hens and his flock of

30 sheep. Through the winter and up to

lambing time Miles looks after his flock of

sheep after school. Sidney has his own

dog, Nell a sheep dog and she runs for

him, so that’s quite a big thing for a young

lad to be able to work his own sheep dog.

It’s a level up from being a pet. The terriers

are wonderful they are real characters,

they are source of frustration as they

will have fights with each other, or they

wander off from the farm to the local pub

quite a few miles away! The terriers, are

Chalky and Sprout, sadly we lost Pippin at

the beginning of lock down. Tony the pony

(pictured above right) is loved by Annas,

Clemmie and Nancy, they look after him,

feed him, brush him and ride him. They

also love the bigger horses Josie and

Princess. Princess is very good with the

kids and often two of them ride her around

the fields. They also like to take the horses

down to the river and give them a bath

and wash and comb their tails.

Will any of them follow in your


Yeah, I think so, at the moment Miles and

Sidney are very keen on farming and Edith

is a good shepherdess. That said I never

place any expectation on any of them

to follow me into being a farmer and a

shepherd. You don’t know where life will

take you. I’m not sitting here going: “I want

you to be a shepherd”, because life goes

through stages, and what you want to do

changes, so I’d rather they make their own

choices, they can do whatever they want

to do. It’s a difficult thing to ask a child

what they want to do with the rest of their

life. They’ll figure it out as they go along.

What is your favourite season and why?

Summer. But really I mean June. June is

my favourite month, because all the sheep

have had lambs and been turned back

out onto the moor and it’s before hay time

and clipping, so there’s a lull and a pause

in the farm work, and at the same time

everything comes to life - the flowers, the

birds on the moor. In June, the Curlews

are back, as are the Lapwings, Golden

Plover, Black Grouse. All you can hear

is birds, wherever you’re walking. There

are woodcock and snipe too - they are

all ground nesting birds up here on the

moor, so you get to see their nests as

well - and it’s just beautiful. The flowers

you see in June are marsh marigolds,

globe flowers, all the hay meadow

flowers, rare orchids - it’s really pretty.

What made you decide to write this

book? It is a delightful read and the

recipes are a treat….

Celebrating the Seasons, came about

because I wanted to answer some of the

most frequently ask questions, how do

you cater for such a big family? Tell us

about the practicalities? What do you

cook? It was really difficult selecting

recipes for the book. I wanted to include

forgiving recipes. Recipes that it was

totally fine to get distracted in the middle

of and would still turn out good. Recipes

that were achievable with the most

basic of ingredients, simple feel good

food, that was nutritionally good too. My

absolute favourite is the Tagine recipe,

it’s a people pleaser, for me its so easy

and the smell always brings everyone

to the kitchen - which is helpful! Every

time I cook it it’s different, sometimes

chick peas, sometimes wild rice, some

times couscous - it always comes out

slightly different each time. In addition

to the recipes, people have told me they

loved my photos and images of the farm

that I post on twitter and would always

suggest I do a photograph book. If you

go back to basics it was a photography

book - Hill Shepherd - that inspired me

to become a shepherd. So it’s nice to

go full circle. I know how inspiring a

photography book can be - how it can

really steer you and how a picture can

tell a thousand words. I really hope that

when people buy the book, that they

look at the pictures over and over again

and still find something new in them, as I

have with Hill Shepherd.

What would you like to tell our readers

about your life?

I want people to know that Celebrating

the Seasons is a book about going your

own way. It’s not a blueprint for how you

should live your life, it simply says this

is what we do as a family this is how we

do it, feel free to follow the recipes, or

do them your own way. I want people

to not let themselves to be stereotyped,

to know that all things are achievable if

you really want to do it. So many people

said you won’t have time to write a book,

you won’t achieve that. But I believe you

can do anything you just have to start

doing it. If you want to write a book,

start writing. I got an E in GCSE English,

and this is my fifth book. Anything is



the Seasons with The Yorkshire

Shepherdess by Amanda Owen by Pan

Macmillan, £20.

14 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk



Very Very Special Turkeys



Alison Mackey, Ecstatic Customer

• 01628 499980 •




Very Very Special Turkeys

Online • Farm • Butchers



with every order over £50

Simply add a China Mug

to your basket & use the

discount code


Dinner is served

Tasty recipes from Amanda Owen

Wild Mushroom Soup with

Wood Sorrel & Hazelnut Pesto

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 35 minutes

Serves 4

2 tbsp Yorkshire rapeseed oil, plus extra for


1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, crushed or grated

450g wild mushrooms, such as yellow

chanterelle, roughly chopped

50ml Madeira or sweet sherry

850ml hot vegetable stock

3 sprigs fresh thyme

200ml double cream

1 tsp mushroom powder

Salt and black pepper


25g chopped toasted hazelnuts

1 small bunch wood sorrel

2 tbsp olive oil

10g Parmesan


Handful of wild mushrooms

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add

the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5

minutes, until softened but not coloured.

Next, add the mushrooms and fry on a

16 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

medium heat for 8 minutes, until they are


Pour the Madeira over the mushrooms and

cook on a high heat for about a minute until

the alcohol evaporates.

Lower the heat and pour in the hot stock,

then add the sprigs of thyme. Bring to the

boil then cover and simmer gently for 20


Remove the pan from the heat, blitz with

a hand blender or in a liquidizer until the

soup is smooth. Return the soup to a clean

pan, stir in the cream and sprinkle over the

mushroom powder, then season the soup

and gently reheat over a low heat.

Meanwhile, place the pesto ingredients into

a small food processor and blitz for a few

seconds until combined. Add extra oil if the

pesto is a little thick and season to taste.

For the mushroom garnish, drizzle some

oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the

remaining mushrooms for a couple of

minutes until golden.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls,

scatter over the whole fried mushrooms,

and top with a spoonful of pesto.


Try serving with homemade spelt bread.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with

Jewelled Couscous

Prep time 15 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil

600g lamb shoulder, diced

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tbsp hot smoked paprika

40g tomato purée

400g can cherry tomatoes

1 cinnamon stick

50g dried apricots, chopped

2 large pieces orange peel

285ml lamb stock

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

Jewelled couscous

200g couscous

200ml hot vegetable stock

1 red onion, chopped

100g pomegranate seeds

1 small bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

3 spring onions

20g almonds, toasted

Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large

heatproof casserole dish, then add the

lamb and sear and brown on all sides for

about 5 minutes. Remove the lamb from

the casserole dish with a slotted spoon and

set aside.

Return the casserole dish to the heat and

add the remaining oil. When hot, add the

onion and fry gently for approximately 8

minutes until golden. Add the garlic and fry

for a further minute.

Sprinkle over the ground spices and stir

in the tomato purée then fry for a further

minute. Return the meat and any juices

to the pan with the remaining Tagine

ingredients (except the fresh coriander),

bring to the boil then cover with a lid and

transfer to the middle shelf of the oven.

Cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, while the Tagine cooks, put the

couscous into a bowl and pour over the

hot vegetable stock. Cover the bowl tightly

with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes

until the couscous has absorbed the liquid.

Season the couscous, then stir through

the remaining ingredients, saving a few

almonds and herbs to garnish.

To serve the Tagine, remove the cinnamon

stick and check seasoning, then sprinkle

over the chopped coriander. Serve in warm

bowls with the jewelled couscous.


This recipe can also be cooked slowly in a

Tagine over a barbecue.

And time for pudding...

More tasty recipes from Amanda Owen

Rhubarb & Custard Crumble Cake

Prep time 15 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 4-6


250g Yorkshire rhubarb, cut into 2cm


50g caster sugar


50g plain flour

25g butter, cut into cubes

40g chopped mixed nuts

25g demerara sugar


170g butter, softened, plus extra for


85g caster sugar

85g soft brown sugar

3 medium eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

30g custard powder

Icing sugar to dust

Custard to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas

Grease and line a 21cm round spring-form

cake tin.

Put the rhubarb into a saucepan and

sprinkle over the caster sugar. Heat very

gently until the sugar dissolves into a syrup.

Simmer for 6–8 minutes until the rhubarb

just begins to soften. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile make the crumble. Place the

flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the

butter with your fingertips until it resembles

breadcrumbs, then stir in the chopped nuts

and sugar.

Next make the cake. Beat the butter, caster

sugar and soft brown sugar in a bowl using

an electric mixer for 2–3 minutes, until light

and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract

with 2 tablespoons of the flour, beat for

a minute until combined, then fold in the

remaining flour, baking powder and custard


Drain any excess juices from the rhubarb

and discard the syrup, then gently fold the

18 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

cooled rhubarb through the cake mixture.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared tin

and gently smooth the top with a spatula.

Sprinkle the crumble over the cake and

press down lightly with the back of a spoon,

then bake on the middle shelf of the oven

for 40 minutes, until the cake is golden, firm

to touch, and when a skewer is inserted it

comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the

cake tin, then transfer to a plate.

Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving

warm with custard.


Also delicious served with ice cream or

single cream.

Hedgerow Nutty Crumble

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 4

Fruit filling

40g butter

40g golden caster sugar

2 Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced

200g Bramley apples, peeled and sliced

300g foraged berries or any mixed berries,

such as blackberries and wild raspberries

Crumble topping

125g plain flour

85g unsalted butter, diced

85g demerara sugar

50g rolled oats

30g chopped toasted hazelnuts

Custard or ice cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

For the fruit filling, melt the butter in a

pan, add the sugar and apples and gently

simmer for 5 minutes. Add the berries and

simmer for 2 minutes, then transfer to a

23cm round oven-proof dish.

Meanwhile prepare the crumble topping.

Put the flour into a mixing bowl and rub

in the butter with your fingertips, until the

mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir

in the sugar, oats and hazelnuts.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the

fruit, then place the dish on the middle

shelf of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes,

until the crumb is golden and fruit


Allow to cool slightly before serving with

custard or ice cream.


Try using other seasonal fruits such as

damsons or gooseberries.

Care with compassion

See the difference Porthaven makes

Call to book a visit or find out more AWARD at porthaven.co.uk










Avondale Care Home, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury (Sat Navs HP19 8EH). Tel 01296 438032

Chiltern Grange Care Home, Ibstone Road, Stokenchurch (Sat Navs HP14 3XR). Tel 01494 480292

Woodland Manor Care Home, Micholls Avenue, Chalfont St Peter (Sat Navs SL9 0RJ). Tel 01494 917671














sit back and relax with

Buy To Let Hunter

We caught up with one of our new clients, Neil Dickins,

to show him around his new property...

Within three weeks of the house purchase

we did all external work identified by the

survey as needing attention and internal

beautification to bring it up to spec before

the first guests arrived.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I fell in love with theatre whilst at

McMaster Uni in Canada, and was told I

must go to London. I duly came to study

Shakespeare but became ensnared in

the thorns of an English rose (the red of

Lancashire version) and never left.

What do you do?

I founded Intellectual Capital Resources

(IC Resources) 22 years ago to focus on

‘deep tech’ recruitment (all the tech that’s

in your phone, or a satellite, or an electric

car….ie everything except IT). The

company is now 70 people with offices

in Reading, London, Munich, China and

the US.

What were you hoping to achieve when

making an investment with BTLH?

I make very high risk, seed stage

investments in tech companies, and

wanted an investment to balance my

portfolio. Like all assets, property

values fluctuate but the likely downside

compared to stocks (or early stage

companies!!) is lower.

Why did you choose BTLH?

For me the most critical word in seeking

success is ‘niche’. I loved the niche,

under-represented ‘mid-term let’ idea

as outlined by Adrian. My due diligence

consisted of meeting his business

partners Alex and Lucy, who also

impressed me greatly and convinced me

that the company was solid and would

deliver on its promises. The great thing

about the space that BTLH has carved

out for itself is that it needs a particular

kind of focus and attention, which I

don’t think potential competitors will

understand even if they try to emulate

BTLH. The other reason, of course, is that

the ROI makes sense.

What has your experience been

working with BTLH?

Excellent from the outset. I’m 100%

confident that the outstanding service

levels will continue. We’ve also rented

the house out for an excellent mediumterm

rental even before it has been listed,

which I’m sure is a positive portent of

things to come.

Any advice to someone else who might

find themselves in your situation?

Call me to invest in some crazy risky early

stage tech companies. Eschew sensible

investments like BTLH!

So… if you find yourself looking for an

investment all piquant with crazy risk and

excitement, contact Neil Dickins direct

to hand over your hard-earned cash for

him to invest in some dodgy early stage

tech companies – and if you feel more

like Neil, then get in touch with BTLH and

see if we can find you a little gem like his

so you can make a sensible investment.

Neil’s parting words to us were: “I might

start thinking about my next project with

you guys…” You heard it here first!

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

investment property?

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:


Look online:









Ultimately you have to work with what

you’ve got - in the last 18 months,

many of us have seen our guest rooms

overhauled into home offices. If you’ve

ditched the bed don’t worry - how about

adding an attractive sofa bed that you

can actually use the rest of the time as a

break out area from your desk.



The more things you can put in the room

to make their stay easier, without having

to ask you for everything, the more

relaxed everyone will feel. A mirror is

important, as are fresh towels, tissues,

and perhaps even a hair dryer. A bedside

carafe and some glasses means they can

help themselves to water too.




As you might have never

slept in this space, you

might not know how

light behaves or how

effective the current

window treatments are for

blocking out light. For a

really luxurious look, pair

blackout blinds or shutters

with thick, decorative

drapery. Shutters give a lovely secure feel

to a space and really finish the room.



The same goes for the mattress as the

window treatments - spend a night in the

room and see if the bed is up to scratch.



Multi-level lighting is key for making a

space feel cosy - make sure there are

two bedside lamps and then another

light source in the space, such as a

standing lamp in the corner or a lamp on

a dressing table



Good bed linen really is worth the money

- and it tends to wash better too. Provide

a good quality duvet and pillows, linens

and some additional blankets if your

guests feel the cold.




We all know it’s a bit stressful trying to

live out of a suitcase - allowing for some

hanging space and a few drawers to

unpack into, can really help guests keep

on top of things whilst they’re with you.



Kit the room out with either fresh flowers,

a reed diffuser, or room sprays. Pillow

spray to help deep sleep is also a lovely

touch to make the space feel homely - we

love Olverum’s new Restful Pillow Sleep

Mist, £25, olverum.com



If your guests were hoping for hotel

standards, then that’s where they should

have stayed. Just aim to make sure

the space is clean, comfortable and

functional, then relax - there’s enough to

be worrying about in the festive season

without adding high expectations on top

of that.

If you’re looking for a total decorative

overhaul, check out our moodboards!


22 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

Pembridge Pendant

Size 3, £1319,




Dulux Paint in ‘Paper Chain’

Natural Ceramic Table Lamp,


Kilby Bedside

Table, £229,


Design by Studio McGee

Fingal 3 Seat

Sofa, £1210,


Navy Seigaiha Wave Cushions £32 and Kayla Woven Cushion £31, hauslife.

co.uk, Weeping Palm Tree Velvet Cushion Cover, £32.95, audenza.com

Malibu Print, from £6.99, www.juniqe.co.uk

Tulana Double Bed,

£599, made.com

Elowen Throw,

£75, hauslife.co.uk

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 23

Bromley Chest, £399,


Black Branches Print, from £6.99,


Jute Effect Daylight Roller

Blind, from £22, John Lewis

Bedroom by Pure Salt Interiors



Off-White Linen Bed Set.

£170.99, www.truelinen.co.uk

Limestone Wood Paint, £18

750ml, thorndown.co.uk

Dar Lighting

NUS422, from £82,


Furn Contra Olive Cushion,

£25, www.persora.com

London Bench, from £499,


Mala Pile Rug,

200x290cm, £299,


Reims, Iron/Metal Four Poster Bed Frame, from

£649, www.obc-uk.net

Black Bud Vase, £29,


Achieve this look by

layering different

neutral textures, and

adding structural

touches of black and a

few strong accent colours

Juna Striped

Cushion, £34,


24 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk


✓ Friendly local service ✓ Options for every budget ✓ Price includes measuring & fitting

• I provide expert advice on

the best window solutions

• Flexible appointment times

• Over 1000 fabrics & styles

to choose from

• Blinds & curtains made

right here in the UK

• Ask me about

multi-blind discounts

• I won’t be beaten on price*


Call me for a free in-home appointment:

Tony Browne 07717680237

*Based on the same size, spec & levels of service.


www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 25

Tough on all Pathogens


Yet skin pH Neutral, Gentle to Skin

Reasons to




for all


Proudly Supporting

because Leucillin is alcohol free! It’s

gentle HSE approved formula

matches our natural pH meaning kind

to skin and safe for all.

At home or away, Leucillin is a

effective essential for all skin

concerns, it is soothing and calming

to; Red, Sore, Itchy skin, Minor Cuts

and Grazes, Bites, Stings and Burns.

suitable for all ages and skin types including

highly sensitive, ears and eyes. Leucillin is

your germ protection, antiseptic care and

daily cleanser.

300x more effective than most sanitisers YET Leucillin

is passed by the Organic Soil Association, has recyclable packaging, is cruelty free and vegan


Available in stores and online

For promotional 500ml product offer please visit: www.leucillin.co.uk/promotions



For People AND our Pets, Leucillin is a

clever, reliable and affordable solution for

cleansing and sanitising skin safely including

your face! Leucillin removes germs without

drying skin, so however species diverse your

family unit is, Leucillin has you covered.

putting our pets first

We may feel as if we have had ‘information

overload’ when it comes to germ

prevention and protection, but sometimes

a product comes along that demands our

attention - enter Leucillin. This is a skin

health product for pets that is proving to

be a product which all of us may well be

putting in our first aid chests very soon.

We spoke to Georgina Bashforth (pictured

right) about the product and its exciting


First of all, in layman’s terms – what is


Leucillin is a clever antiseptic applied to

the skin topically to protect against harmful

germs. Leucillin is a revolutionary fresh new

take on what an antiseptic is and can be

capable of.

Leucillin mimics the body’s own immune

system, providing you a powerful solution

which delivers the ultimate shield in

topical skin protection against harmful

pathogens. Leucillin’s unique formulation

does not contain any alcohol, steroids or

antibiotics, it is the natural choice for safe

skin sanitising.

Our pets our so important to us, how

is Leucillin used and what specific

applications is it effective for?

Leucillin has a great reputation for safety

and efficacy, supported by pet healthcare,

veterinary and grooming industries,

this year. It has been awarded human

approvals and begun an exciting new

chapter in healthcare.

Furthermore it can be safely applied in

any topical application where the skin,

ears and eyes need care, whether broken,

red, sore, inflamed, cuts, stings, bites

or grazes, Leucillin’s powerful antiseptic

properties eradicate germs on contact

creating the perfect environment for rapid


For children, as well as our pets, it’s

“Ouch Free” formula is kind, it has been

developed to match the natural pH of skin

so no more wincing on that grazed knee.

It seems to be a very gentle solution

to a number of particularly stubborn

problems - can it be used long-term?

Leucillin achieves an unbeatable

99.99999% reduction in bacteria on

contact, but how does that compare with

the 99.99% which we think is good? Well;

it’s a massive 10’000 times better!

Fast effective pathogen reduction means

no resistance therefore long-term usage is

always effective and no harmful ingredients

means Leucillin is always safe!

And finally, how else can it be used and

what are your hopes for the product

going forward?

Our goal is to help alleviate the dependence

on antibiotics and pharmaceutical

intervention in the area of germ protection,

for a more natural, safe, non-invasive and

most importantly effective alternative.

During the pandemic Leucillin has been

proven effective against all coronaviruses

including SARS-CoV-2 topically and

has been used by animal care industries

including Police Dog Handler units for

reducing risk.

We have also recently teamed up with The

Humanimal Trust founded by Professor

Noel Fitzpatrick - aka The Supervet, we’re

excited to be supporting mental health and

raising money for ONE Medicine, so that

humans and animals can benefit equally

from all medical progress.

We rescue and rehome dogs.





Please call to book an appointment to visit

Pine Ridge Dog Sanctuary is a small independent animal

rescue organisation. We do not operate a ‘walk around’

option as we believe that an interview process helps

determine the right companion for you.

Registered Charity: 256728 | Established 1958

Tel: 01344 882689 | pineridgedogs@yahoo.co.uk

Priory Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8RJ

Our easy access showroom is located at

Cross Court, Downley, High Wycombe, Bucks HP13 5UW

Call us on 01494 443 933

or visit www.independentlivingconsultants.co.uk

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 27


Allowing older people to live where they want to live

Imagine you’re an older person in your

70s, approaching your later years and

perhaps in need of more support soon,

but still with so much to give, so many

talents to unlock, so many friends to

make. You’re thinking about moving

from the family home you’ve lived in

for years to somewhere which provides

security and care if and when you need

it, but which also allows you to keep

your independence and connections to

the local community, and which has a

range of activities and facilities to keep

you busy.

It’s this middle ground, this golden

mean, combining independence with

care and support, which housing-withcare

settings across the country are

offering to older people in increasing

numbers. Sometimes called retirement

communities, retirement villages or extra

care housing, these settings give older

people the opportunity to rent or own

a flat or apartment, on a site with 24/7

staffing, high-quality care provision if

needed, and facilities like restaurants,

bars, cafes, gyms, activity rooms and

much more.

While long-standing options for older

people like care homes and traditional

retirement housing will continue to have

a vital place, there is a growing need

for middle options like housing-withcare

which allow older people to stay

independent and healthy for longer.

The evidence is clear: housing-withcare

improves health and well-being,

drastically cuts down hospital and GP

visits, and reduces feelings of loneliness.

Not only do older people themselves

benefit, but so too does the NHS and

whole social care system.

Housing-with-care settings can be in

either rural or urban locations, giving

older people the chance to choose the

lifestyle they want. Often, they are closely

connected with the town centre, and

people of different ages are able to use

the facilities at the retirement community

and mix with older residents. Far from

being ghettos of the elderly, housingwith-care

settings can be hubs of

intergenerational connection.

ARCO’s role as the representative body

for the housing-with-care sector is to help

our members provide the best possible

service to their older residents, and to

ensure the sector thrives and grows in

the way that it should. An important part

of ARCO’s work is helping members

set high standards through the ARCO

Consumer Code, a new edition of

which was launched in September this

year. The code upholds the principles

of transparency and fairness, giving

customers and residents confidence that

housing-with-care operators achieve

high levels of consumer protection in

everything from marketing, sales and

lettings, and resident relations.

Because, ultimately, housing-with-care is

all about the residents. About responding

to the growing demand from older

people for housing options that combine

independent, active living with care

and support if needed. About allowing

residents to live the life that they want

to live.

For further email please visit


28 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk


Separating from your spouse?

Sue Andrews, family partner, B P Collins, firmly believes that letting the courts

decide on child arrangements and finances should be a last resort. Here she explains

some pitfalls and other options available if you’re thinking of separating...

A recent Channel 4 survey on the family

courts and the resolution of arrangements

for children reported that:

• Among those whose cases had

concluded, over 70% of mothers

and fathers were unhappy with the


• 67% of parents agreed or strongly

agreed that their children’s

mental health had been affected

by participation in the court


• Court proceedings were reported to

have taken on average 18 months

to complete, with 1 in 10 cases

lasting more than 5 years.

• The average cost of proceedings

was said to be around £13,000,

though 1 in 20 claimed they had

spent over £100,000.

These findings demonstrate why court

proceedings should be a last resort for

separating couples. They are a blunt

instrument which can be clumsy, lengthy

and costly. Where possible, couples

should aim to reach an agreement/

compromise acceptable to them both

since how you deal with the issues,

as well as the outcome, will affect you

and your children for many years to

come, and for some people, a lifetime.

Communication, which includes listening,

is key. Where feelings are running high,

counselling can help a couple deal with

the emotional fallout of the separation

and how and what to communicate to

their children.

Giving each other time to come to terms

with what is a complete life-change

is likely to help, as is respecting each

other. This, and remembering what

brought you together, should prevent

the adoption of extreme and polarised

positions, and instead enable, at least,

some understanding of a former partner’s

viewpoint – which may be driven by fear,

grief and uncertainty.

It is also essential, if a good ending is

to be achieved, to be honest with each

other both about why the marriage has

broken down as well as about finances

and future plans.

What if direct communication is


If direct communication is difficult, then

discussions in mediation can be helpful,

since a mediator will help to neutralise

the discussion by reducing the emotion

in the room and, where the issues are

the child arrangements, ensuring that the

needs of children are the key focus.

If a determination by a third party is

needed, arbitration can be considered as

an alternative to the court process. While

the arbitrator’s fee is an additional cost, it

can be less expensive and quicker than

the courts in the long run, because it can

enable a more streamlined procedure

involving fewer hearings. The arbitrator

will be an experienced family lawyer

selected by both former partners, who

will set aside the whole time allocated, to

deal with your matter, rather than having

to juggle a number of matters as a judge

usually has to do. An arbitrator’s decision

is final, in the same way as a court

decision, with both being subject to very

limited grounds for appeal.

If the issue is about child arrangements

thought could be given to the instruction

of an independent social worker (ISW).

In many such cases, a report from

CAFCASS (Children and Family Court

Advisory Service) will be ordered by

the courts, however the time allocated,

and resources available to them, is

often too limited to comprehensively

investigate and assess the family

involved and get to grips with the issues

and the inter-family relationships. So,

again, while the instruction of an ISW

will involve an additional cost, they

will be able to provide a thorough and

detailed assessment to the court and

to the parents, which could facilitate an

agreement and the suspension of the

court proceedings.

In short, only consider court proceedings

after other avenues have been explored

or where absolutely necessary, since the

court process will mean that you both

will no longer be in charge of the final

decision, which, according to Channel 4’s

survey, only 30% of parents were happy


For professional advice and support,

please contact B P Collins’ family partner,

Sue Andrews on 01753 279046 /

01844 397397 or email


B P Collins can also help if you are

a victim of domestic violence and

direct communication is not possible.

Support is also available by calling the

National Domestic Abuse Helpline on

0808 2000 247.

30 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk






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