Wokingham and Bracknell Lifestyle Dec 2021 - Jan 2022


At last the Christmas editions are here! With festive fun, gifts and interiors, plus kitchen design advice from Interior Design expert Julia Kendell and an interview with the Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen. Plus, our competition pages return, with staycations, laundry upgrades, festive hampers and a chance to win tickets to see Paloma Faith in concert!


A Note

from the EDITOR



A Culinary Journey through


Home Ireland

Hit List of jobs

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 - her new book has some of

the most stunning photography and

amazing anecdotes from her life.

We’ve also got a festive gift guide

to get the ideas flowing and some

delicious new ideas for special festive

food from the experts of flavour -

Maldon Sea Salt.


The Yorkshire Shepherdess

Amanda Owen

Editor Katie Thomson

e katie.thomson@minervapublications.co.uk

Publisher Sally Thomson

Pre-press Manager Kate Norris

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

Front cover courtesy of Maldon Sea Salt

Key Account Manager Angela Maskell

e angela@minervapublications.co.uk

e 01225 984 500

twitter: @WokingBrackLife


Interior Designer

Julia Kendell


Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton, Trowbridge,

Wiltshire BA14 6JB t 01225 308128

w www.minervamagazines.co.uk

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 February - 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


To enter any (or all!) of our competitions, head to


Find the competition and enter on that post,

using the appropriate keyword.

T&C’s apply and no cash alternatives available. Winners chosen at

random - entries made after closing date will not be accepted.


A Laundry

Bundle from


worth over


For most of us, laundry is a bit of a chore, so to lighten the load,

we’re giving away a luxury laundry bundle from Brabantia worth

over £500.

The prize includes Brabantia’s new Bo Laundry Bin Hi, which

will blend effortlessly into your decor with its sleek finish and

has two 45L compartments for easy separating your whites

from your colours. When spring comes around again, you

can then hang your washing out on Brabantia’s Rotary Dryer

Lift-o-Matic Advance which can easily be adjusted to your

ideal height. For those grey days, Brabantia’s 23m Drying Rack

Tower is the perfect inside solution. Finally, prep your fresh

laundry for the wardrobe with a Brabantia Ironing Board. ThisXL

model is designed for easy ironing of any outfit!


Closes 15/01/2022 - Competition keyword ‘BRABANTIA’

Looking for the perfect gift this Christmas? Delight your friends

and family with a selection box of delicious treats. One lucky

reader will win a ‘Decadent Christmas in a Box’ containing the


6kg Free Range Whole Turkey | 4.5kg Unsmoked Ham | 1kg

Side of Smoked Salmon | 1kg Organic Cheddar | 1kg Cropwell

Bishop Stilton | Christmas Pudding | Harrow & Hope Brut

Reserve (750ml bottle) | Classic Cranberry Sauce | Granny’s

Apple Chutney | Artisan Coronation Sauce | British Goose

Fat | Luxury Bread Sauce | Traditional Roast Gravy | Sage &

Onion Stuffing | Pigs In Blankets | 200g Smoked Chicken 200g

Smoked Duck


Christmas in

a box! Worth


4 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk


Closes 10/12/2021. Competition keyword






PLUS tickets

to see Paloma

Faith worth


Looking for the perfect excuse to get

away? The outstanding Paloma Faith is

touring the UK in the Summer of 2022

for her “Summer of Optimism” Tour 2022

and we are giving you the chance to win

2 x GOLD PLUS tickets (worth £180) to

see her live at any of the following venues: Parc

Y Scarlets, Llanelli – Saturday 18th June, Central Park,

Plymouth – Saturday 9th July, Darlington Arena – Saturday

16th July, Bitts Park, Carlilse – Saturday 24th July, Slessor

Gardens, Dundee – Sunday 24th July, Leicestershire County

Cricket Club – Sunday 31st July. The winning gold plus

tickets will grant the lucky winners early entry (no queuing!),

premium bar and toilet facilities, and are situated in the Golden

Enclosure, which is the closest area to the stage. If you win,

you can choose from any of the locations above and make a

weekend of it!


Closes 15/01/2022 - Competition keyword ‘PALOMA’


an overnight

stay and

dinner worth


Win a luxury stay at the Charlecote Pheasant in the historic

Stratford-upon-Avon. Your prize includes an overnight stay in

a Suite with breakfast, bottle fizz in your room and a 3 course

dinner or a 3 course Sunday lunch.


Closes 15/01/2022 - Competiton keyword ‘CHARLECOTE’.

Adagio, the European leader in aparthotels is giving one lucky

winner a two-night stay for two at one of their amazing UK

properties in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh or Liverpool. Their

apartments comprise of a kitchen, bedroom and living area

with flat screen smart TV - great for lounging after a busy day of

activities. T&Cs available online.


A City

Break with




Closes 15/01/2022 - Competition keyword ‘ADAGIO’

01202 980107




Maximise your garden space

by adding a summerhouse,

outdoor office, or garden studio

to your property.

Hi Tech provides a costeffective

garden room design

and build service throughout

Surrey and the surrounding

areas, enabling customers to

make the most of their existing

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Get in touch today for further




On sale nOw

A South hill park pAntomime

‘Another Christmas

cracker of a show’

maidenhead advertiser

on aladdin 2019

Bracknell favourite returns

Michael Ayiotis

as Buttons

Writer Joyce Branagh

Director Adam Stafford

Fri 26 Nov 2021 — Mon 3 Jan 2022

Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell RG12 7PA

@southhillpark /southhillparkartscentre southhillpark #shpcinderella

Registered charity 265656

Please support the

future of the Arts

to Book visit Southhillpark.org.uk · Box offiCe 01344 484123

Berkshire’s Centre for the Arts, Business and Community

6 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

Festive Spruce



The lead up to the festive season can feel fraught, but it’s

also a time where we spend many hours huddled inside

together – so it makes sense to have a cleaning arsenal

on-hand to help keep mess at bay. Here are some of our

seasonal heroes...


Are you looking for a chemical-free, non-toxic product for your

home that actually works and smells amazing? Enter the amazing

eco-friendly probiotic refillable cleaning products from Nookary.

With pro-biotic instead of bacteria killing properties, the cleaners

rid surfaces of harmful bacteria and pathogens whilst leaving

good bacteria to keep on cleaning for you after you’ve wiped!

The All-purpose Cleaner really means all-purpose, it works

brilliantly on worktops, limescale, kitchen, bathrooms and even

windows! Put it to the test. What’s better, the products arrived

concentrated, ready to dilute with water, with pouches you can

send back to be re-used –

meaning no single use plastic

wastage! We also love the

brand’s range of washable

cleaning towels and stylish

glass bottles.

Probiotic All-Purpose Cleaner

and Refill, £22.00 nookary.com

(one pouch will do 10 refills!)


Cordless vacuum cleaners can be completely lifechanging, but

they have to work well! Vax Blade 4 maintains constant high pickup

performance throughout your home, even when the dirt bin

is full and it comes with a revolutionary 4.0Ah battery that gives

you up to 45 minutes runtime, plenty of time to clean without

recharging. At just 3.1kg, Vax Blade 4 is perfectly balanced for

effortless, easy to use cleaning, offering the performance of a

corded vacuum in a sleek lightweight design. It also features

DustTracker LEDs, so you can easily see where you need to

clean, so there is nowhere left for the dirt to hide.

£219.99 plus free toolkit worth £50






Comprehensive, bespoke, financial advice & planning

Would you like to start making

better provision for your future and


Do you need help understanding

your existing pension


Rebecca Kingwell

BSc (Hons), DipFA

I offer specialist advice on pension

planning, investment planning,

savings, tax efficiency and life and

critical illness protection.









TEL: 01536 669630

e: rebecca.kingwell@sjpp.co.uk t: 0330 053 6797


Oxfordshire . Berkshire

Rebecca Kingwell Financial Planner is an Appointed Representative of and represents only

St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial

Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products

and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website at www.sjp.co.uk/products

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 7

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

one place.

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




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,


Visit TONIQLIFE.COM to find out more


The gift

Yard Market has a vast array of unique and eco-friendly gifts

by independent makers. One of our new favourites is Niaski,

who beautifully combines her love of cats with her love of art.

She has reproduced the classic favourites – Frida Catlo, Vincat

Van Gogh, David Catney, and more. Calendars, sketchbooks,

washi tape, and pins make up this fun and well priced

collection. Stock is limited, so make sure not to miss out!

01483418774 | contact@yardmarket.uk

Mini Greenhouse


£5.50 rhsshop.co.uk


Meadow Gloves

£16, rhsshop.co.uk

Matt Gold Fern Leaf Wreath

£48.00, rhsshop.co.uk

RHS British Meadow

Trowel and Fork Set

£25, rhsshop.co.uk


RHS Exclusive Snowdrop Collection

RHS Snowdrop Flute, £12

RHS Snowdrop Hi-ball, £9

RHS Snowdrop Carafe. £25

Sheep in Scarf Felt Decoration

£11, rhsshop.co.uk

RHS British Meadow Indoor

Watering Can

£19, rhsshop.co.uk

RHS Exclusive Houseplant Pots:

Give houseplants the perfect home!

Great for gifting over the festive season.

Prices from www.minervamagazines.co.uk £9, rhsshop.co.uk | 9

A personalised softcover

notebook is a thoughtful gift

Polaar Polar Night

Revitalizing Cream

with Boreal Algae,

£42, polaar.com


Eye Pillow

Made from sustainably

harvested natural cork bark

with a non-slip surface

which increases grip with


Cork mat and block set, £75,


Heatable Lavendar

Eye Pillow, £11.99,



Softcover Printed Notebook,

£16.99, rosemood.co.uk

Build the perfect bar

cart with Dartington’s

Limelight Mitre champagne

saucer, £55 for set of two or

pair of Margarita glasses,

£20, dartington.co.uk

Luxury Heavyweight

Merino Scarf, £90,


T3 Curl ID, £189,


The ultimate curler which

adapts to your hair type

and damage level

Cashmere Sweatshirt

in Emerald, £179,


BeGlow Tia All-In-

One Sonic Skincare

System, £199,


Micro Merlin


Knife Trio, £99,



The Micro

Explorer Electric

Scooter, £349.95,

reduced from




18 mile range,

foldable and

ultra light weight

with 15mph

top speed

Andrée Jardin

Sneaker Care

Kit, £33.50,



True Wireless Stereo

Earphones, £57.99,


10 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

Eco Sports

Cloak Long

Sleeve, £119.95,


Perfect if they love outdoor

pursuits or sports

Scrivner For Men 5 Step

Skin Strategy - £127,


C hristmas


at RHS Wisley

Garden Centre

It’s that time of year again, where gardens

turn to shades of red, brown and frosty

whites, while inside homes are getting cosy

and filling with the scents of Christmas...

Whether you’re looking for stunning

festive houseplants, the perfect tree,

outdoor winter impact, or of course

unique and inspiring gifts for loved

ones, now is the perfect time to head

RHS Wisley Garden Centre and join us

in feeling the Christmas spirit.

Deck your halls

Christmas in the home is about more

than just a gorgeous tree adorned with

decorations. We have a vast range of

festive wreaths for doors and fireplaces,

and houseplants are a brilliant way to

bring life to your Christmas home too.

Poinsettia, phalaenopsis, and azalea

are all extremely popular at this time of

year and are available in a wide range

of colours and patterns, far more than

just the deep reds associated with

houseplants at this time of year.

This year we’re thrilled to introduce a

wider range of eco-friendly, sustainable

decorations for the home. Beautiful

paper garlands in bright festive colours,

fold-away paper Christmas trees and

sustainable ornaments all offer stunning

colour while helping keep our planet

green. Festive felt decorations always

prove a hit with families and this year we

have a wonderful collection of felt flora

and fauna, gardening accessories and

forest friends to adorn your tree with.

Gifts galore!

Family, friends, loved ones and of

course that really tricky person who you

always struggle to buy for…fear not – we

have Christmas gifts this year to cover


For those who love to entertain we

have an RHS Exclusive collection just

for Christmas, the Snowdrop range

of etched glassware by UK designer

Emma Britton. This limited edition

collection, a festive interpretation of

the successful Iris glassware range

launched earlier this year, is a wonderful

set of champagne flutes, wine glasses,

hi-balls and carafes great for gifting and

for festive entertaining. Discover our

carefully curated collection of jewellery

inspired by the colours and silhouettes

in nature, or for those who deserve to

be pampered the RHS Exclusive English

Garden collection is just the ticket.

Including delicately fragranced soaps,

UK made body lotions & washes and

bath salts, they all reflect the scents of

an English garden, with the collection

complemented by hand poured candles

in miniature recycled glass milk bottles.

Houseplants deserve to be happy and

what better gift to give than that of a

unique pot designed by the RHS for

houseplants big and small. Featuring

illustrations taken from the RHS Lindley

Library of historic botanic art, this eclectic

collection of rustic, cracked glazed pots

are a great gift for loved ones over the

festive season.

Needless to say, shopping for the

gardener in your life is easy with the RHS.

The RHS British Meadow collection of

gardening tools & accessories showcases

beautiful illustrations from the RHS

archives. For a small stocking filler, the

RHS exclusive collection of eco-friendly

garden twine, jute and composting sacks

are ideal and our collection of botanical

reads is second-to-none. And for little

ones, aside from a fabulous selection

of toys, stationery and gardening

accessories, we have a lovely selection of

plantable books for children to read, grow

and enjoy. A great way to start younger

ones on their growing journey.

We look forward to welcoming you to our

festive shop soon. Merry Christmas one

and all, and here’s to a fabulous 2022.

RHS Wisley Garden Centre,

Woking GU23 6QB

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 Ravensea, 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.

12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

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.

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


a book,

you won’t


that. But

I believe

you can do


you just

have to

start doing

it. If you

want to

write a



writing. I

got an E

in GCSE English, and this is my

fifth book. Anything is possible.

Celebrating the Seasons with The

Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen

is available from Pan Macmillan, £20.

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

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.

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 13

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

14 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

and discard the syrup, then gently fold the

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.


In the next 4 pages you will

discover some delicious

recipes to enjoy over the

festive season….

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 15










This vegetarian wellington recipe

is a fantastic centrepiece for

a vegetarian Christmas table.

It includes beetroot, butternut

squash, lentils and chestnuts all

wrapped in wonderfully crisp pastry

– no one will miss the meat.

Serves: 6 – 8 people

Prep time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

Cook time: 45 minutes


300g butternut squash, chopped into

1cm cubes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped

10g sage, finely chopped

10g thyme, leaves picked

130g cooked puy lentils

100ml double cream

75g cooked chestnuts, crumbled

1 tsp Maldon salt

Cracked black pepper

500g puff pastry

5-6 cooked beetroot

1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 180C°.

Begin with the butternut squash. Place

the diced squash onto a baking tray and

drizzle with some oil, Maldon salt and

cracked black pepper. Place into the

oven and roast for 20 minutes until soft

and cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan heat

1 tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add the

diced onion and fry gently for 5 minutes

until softened. To the softened onions,

add the crushed garlic and cook for a

further 2 minutes. Next add the chopped

chestnut mushrooms and continue to

cook these for 5 – 8 minutes until the

mushrooms have softened and beginning

to caramelize.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, add

the chopped sage and thyme leaves,

followed by the cooked puy lentils and

double cream. Allow this to fry and cook

for 3 minutes, mixing well so everything

is well combined. Remove from the heat

and add the crumbled cooked chestnuts,

Maldon salt, cracked black pepper and

the cooked butternut squash. Set aside

and allow to cool.

Once the mixture has cooled, you are

ready to assemble.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the

puff pastry block until it is a roughly

30 x 40cm rectangle and 1cm thick. At

this stage you want to carefully lift the

rolled pastry onto a baking sheet lined

with parchment paper. Next spoon on

the cooled filling and spread out evenly,

leaving a 1-inch boarder along the top

and 1cm board round all the rest of the

edges. Next take the cooked beetroot

and make sure they are dry of any excess

liquid. Choose beetroot that are similar

in size and place them in a row down the


Take one of the long sides and lift it up

and over the beetroot to enclose them.

Pinch the pastry together at the seams

and rest the whole wellington seam side

down. Pinch the pastry at either end

of the wellington also, and trim off any


Use the excess pastry to create long

strips and decorate the top of the

wellington with a lattice pattern (optional).

And brush the entire thing with the

beaten egg.

Place the wellington into the fridge for a

minimum of 30 minutes (but the longer,

the better) to cool.

When ready to bake, take your chilled

wellington from the fridge and place into

the preheated oven. Bake for 40 – 45

minutes until the pastry is golden and

crisp all over. Remove from the oven and

allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing

and serving.

16 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk







Lobster, prawns and crayfish are often considered

delicacies for a special occasion, so this BBQ recipe with

smoky siracha mayonnaise and herbed butter is perfect

for a showstopping Christmas feast.

Serves: 6 people

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


2 lobster, sliced in half lengthways

450g king prawns

300g crayfish

150g unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp Maldon salt

Cracked black pepper

10g parsley, finely chopped

10g coriander, finely chopped

2 lemons, halves

100g mayonnaise

1 tbsp siracha


Begin by mixing together the herb butter for your seafood. In a

small bowl mix together the softened butter with Maldon salt,

cracked black pepper, the chopped parsley and coriander. Set


The perfect way to cook your seafood is on a hot BBQ, however

if you don’t have one then a griddle pan will work too. Make sure

it has reached a medium to high temperate, and start by grilling

your lobster halves. Cook flesh side down on the griddle until

the meat has turned pink and has some lovely charring on it.

The shells will turn orangey pink too, and this is when you know

your lobster are cooked. Do the same with the king prawns and

crayfish, although these will take less time to cook.

While your seafood is cooking, it is also nice to griddle some

lemon to serve alongside. Simply add your lemon halves cut

side down onto the grill and allow them to cook and char for 3


Once your seafood is all cooked, pile onto a large serving platter

and using a pastry brush, brush all across the flesh with your

delicious herb butter – letting it melt in. Place your griddled lemon

onto the serving platter too.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and siracha. Serve

this alongside the platter of BBQ seafood and allow everyone to

tuck in!

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 17






Porchetta makes a wonderful alternative to Turkey

for your festive centrepiece. Porchetta originates

from Italy and is a rolled joint of pork belly stuffed

full of fragrant herbs. It is slow cooked for soft

tender meat but still with beautiful crispy crackling

on the outside. Serve this Porchetta alongside

rosemary roast potatoes and fresh sautéed greens.

Serves: 6 people

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus chilling overnight

Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes


2kg pork belly, boneless

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1 lemon, zested

50g pistachios, finely chopped

10g sage, finely chopped

15g parsley, finely chopped

50g fresh breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Maldon salt


Begin by prepping your pork. Score the skin of the pork

belly with a knife in lines at an angle across the whole skin,

then place in the fridge uncovered overnight – this will help

dry out the moisture in the skin and ensure you have super

crispy crackling.

Meanwhile you can make the stuffing for the porchetta. In

the olive oil lightly fry the onion with a pinch of Maldon salt

for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the crushed garlic

and fennel seeds and fry for another 2 minutes. Remove

from the heat and tip into a bowl to cool. Once cooled

add the lemon zest, chopped pistachios, sage, parsley,

breadcrumbs and season with Maldon salt and cracked

black pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C°.

Once you are ready to cook your pork remove from the

fridge. Place it on a board skin side down, and then cover

the flesh with your stuffing mixture. Using butchers string

carefully roll your meat and bind together in 3 or 4 places

tightly to keep it in a roll.

Place the rolled joint onto a baking tray and drizzle the skin

with olive oil, rubbing it in and then sprinkle liberally with

Maldon salt. Place the tray into your preheated oven for 30

minutes until the crackling is crispy and golden. Then turn

your oven down to 180C° and cook for a further 2 hours. If

the crackling begins to look a little too dark, then you might

want to cover it with some foil.

After the cooking time remove your porchetta from the oven

and rest for 20 minutes until ready to serve!

18 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk





These sweet festive cookies are

a wonderful treat to gift to friends

and are great fun to make with

children. They are spiced with the

Christmas flavours of cinnamon,

ginger, nutmeg and cloves and

then iced with pretty patterns to

decorate. The cookies should last in

an airtight container for 1 week.

Serves: makes 30 cookies

Prep time: 45 minutes, plus chilling

Cook time: 15 minutes


225g unsalted butter, softened

180g soft light brown sugar

300g molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

700g plain flour

1 tsp Maldon Salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

500g icing sugar


Using an electric whisk or stand mixer,

start by creaming together the butter

and brown sugar (ensure your butter is

softened to room temperature before

you attempt to do this). Once the mixture

is pale and fluffy add the molasses and

vanilla extract and mix again.

In a separate bowl mix together the

dry ingredients; the plain flour, Maldon

salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon,

nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Add the dry

ingredients into the butter mixture in

stages and then mix until it forms a soft

dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and

chill in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170C°.

After the dough has chilled, remove it

from the fridge and on a lightly floured

surface roll out the dough until it is

roughly ½ cm thick. Use any cutters you

like to cut out shapes – gingerbread men,

stars, Christmas trees, candy canes –

have fun with it! Place the biscuits onto a

baking sheet lined with parchment paper,

keeping the biscuits a few cm’s apart

(you may need to do this across a couple

of trays). Put the trays into the preheated

oven and bake for 14 – 15 minutes until

the biscuits are slightly darker and baked

through. Remove from the oven and allow

to cool slightly before lifting onto a wire

rack to cool fully.

To make the icing place the 500g icing

sugar into a bowl and add 1 tbsp water,

mix until it forms a paste. Keep adding

a small amount of water at a time till

you reach your desired consistency. You

want the icing to still be thick enough to

pipe and hold its shape. Once you have

the correct consistency, pour the icing

into a piping bag with a small nozzle

attachment and decorate the cooled

biscuits anyway you like.

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 19

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.



To share a stress-free and safe Christmas with your dog,

The Kennel Club has rounded up some tips on how to keep

them comfortable and safe during the festive season...

A DOG’S DINNER - Each Christmas there are thousands of cases of

dogs needing veterinary treatment after stealthily stealing chocolate

and other unsuitable festive treats. With so much going on during

Christmas so try and keep treats out of paw’s reach.

One of the most hazardous Christmas treats is chocolate, which

is highly toxic for dogs. It is important to keep any chocolate

treats, including tree decorations, out of your dog’s reach to avoid

poisoning, and ask your visitors to do the same.

Christmas dinner also involves a lot of foods which can be

dangerous for a dog, either through being toxic, too salty or too

fatty. Owners should avoid feeding dogs turkey, goose or chicken as

bones can easily splinter causing an obstruction and possibly even

piercing your dog’s tummy.

Sweet treats like mince pies and Christmas pudding all contain dried

fruits including raisins, currants or sultanas which are toxic to dogs.

Other dangerous Christmas treats that should stay in a cupboard

and away from your pet include macadamia nuts, blue cheese,

alcohol, bones, fatty foods and mouldy foods.

FESTIVE FUN - Christmas festivities can be overwhelming for dogs,

from excited and noisy children to crackers banging, so avoid forcing

festive fun by making sure their routine isn’t disrupted. Take them out

on their usual walks and keep their dinner at the same time too. To

help them feel secure, ensure they have their usual space and bed

where they can retreat if they want to.

When visiting family and friends over Christmas, or fitting in some

Christmas shopping, make sure you don’t leave your four-legged

friend alone for more than four hours.

DANGEROUS DECORATIONS - Christmas decorations and

presents are often just as intriguing and exciting for dogs as they are

for humans. However, some seasonal decorative plans including

holly, mistletoe, ivy and poinsettia, can also be dangerous. When

decorating your house, make sure these plants are out of your dog’s


When choosing your tree, consider an artificial one as they don’t

drop needles and are likely to be less harmful to pets. It can also be a

good idea to leave the tree up undecorated for few days, giving your

dog a chance to get used to it being there.

Avoid hanging any chocolate, sweet or salt-dough decorations on

the tree and keep the bottom branches bare of lights, tinsel and


If you think your dog

may have eaten,

touched or inhaled

something that

they shouldn’t,

speak to your vet

straight away.

There is further advice

on how to have a carefree canine

Christmas on The Kennel Club




20 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

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.


The rooms are clean and modern, with all the amenities you could need

- but the real speciality of this hotel is its location - few hotels can boast

of such a spot - truly in the heart of the West End - ready for a glittering

evening of theatre entertainment and a cornucopia of dining options. Covent

Garden is steps away, as is the buzzing Trafalgar Square.



With its very own bar and restaurant and on-site complimentary gym, you

have all you need without leaving the building. There are few places to stay

for this value, this location and such well-appointed rooms - it’s the perfect

pit stop for your next visit to London.

Rooms from £199 per night | 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ

strandpalacehotel.co.uk | 020 7379 4737

Mondrian, a leading brand within the Accor

group, has expanded into Europe with the

launch of Mondrian Shoreditch London. The

lifestyle hotel, owned by The Reuben Brothers,

opened its doors in August 2021, following

a major overhaul and complete redesign by

award-winning London interior design studio

Goddard Littlefair.

The 120-bedroom property -

including 13 suites - sits in the midst

of Shoreditch, East London’s creative

and cultural hub. Hosting elevated

dining experiences at the property,

Mondrian Shoreditch houses worldfamous

chef Dani García’s BiBo - a

Spanish kitchen serving tapas with

courtyard seats - and Christina’s - a new

all-day café and cocktail bar serving Katsu



Available on 24 and 25 December, Mondrian

Shoreditch’s Christmas offering includes:

• Welcome festive treats for all guests in

Christina’s; the hotel’s cocktail and allday

sando bar

• Special festive amenities in-room

• Christmas feast at either Bibo - the

hotel’s Spanish tapas restaurant headed

by renowned Michelin Starred Chef, Dani

Garcia - or on the rooftop overlooking

the stunning views of East London;

Altitude at The Curtain

Guests can also stay longer for less when

booking 3 nights or more (up to 20% off).

Rooms from £230 per night

45 Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PT

sbe.com | 0203 988 4455


After a sell out summer in 2021, the iconic UFO-shaped Futuro House

at Marston Park, Somerset, is now available to book overnight from May

to October 2022. Located between Frome and Bruton, this beautiful

destination offers an exhilarating Pandora’s box of unique cultural

experiences and a chance to spend quality time with loved ones in jawdroppingly

picturesque surroundings.

Designed for leisure and pleasure by artist Craig Barnes, this is one of the

only Futuros in the world where you can spend the night. Set in a leafy

glade by the lake, it has a flexible living space, complete with a kitchenette

area, vintage lighting, round dining table and reclining chairs upholstered in

groovy mustard, plus two curtained-off sleeping cabins with double beds. It

also comes with exclusive private bathroom facilities, including a piping hot

shower and outdoor seating with a fire pit.

Prices start from just £400 per night, based on two adults sharing,

depending on date. Book this once-in-a-lifetime experience via the website:


22 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk



We speak to Julia Kendell, interiors and

decorating expert from ITV’s ’60 Minute Makeover’

and ‘Rebuild Our Home’ and spokesperson for The

National Homebuilding & Renovating Show...








Yes absolutely, the kitchen has had

to really take the strain in the past 18

months and now more than ever my

clients are eager to find ways to ensure

their new kitchen spaces are flexible

enough to cope with whatever might be

round the corner.

The design process starts with

understanding my client’s functional

needs for the room, both now and as far

into the future as we can determine (after

all, a good quality kitchen should last

20-30 years). My design principles centre

on wellbeing in the home and creating

spaces that fully support the family to

ensure everyone can be organised and in

harmony with one another. This involves

spending time working out the each

individual’s daily movements around

the kitchen, their needs and what they

enjoy doing. If there’s a keen baker in

the household, I will suggest a dedicated

‘baking cabinet’ where everything

you need is in one place, stand-mixer

plugged in ready for use and no excuses

not to achieve ‘Star Baker!’ I believe

good design ensures we can be the best

versions of ourselves and take obstacles

out of the way of our daily successes.







It sounds obvious, but a total de-clutter,

removing as much as possible from a

room to be able to view the room with

‘fresh-eyes’ is a great start to make

meaningful changes. One of the simplest

yet most effective improvements is

to increase the levels of daylight into

the home. Texture, whether fabrics or

carpeting absorbs a huge amount of

daylight and it can be transformational to

swap out curtains for shutters/ blinds and

hard flooring such as engineered wood

to replace carpet. Instantly the rooms will

feel larger and brighter and any increase

in daylight in the home can only improve

your mood and wellbeing.




Areas that receive the most use should

be prioritised in the overall budget. Most

kitchen units are well constructed these

days so choosing an affordable unit with

a good quality worksurface is a good

option. It’s amazing the difference adding

expensive handles can make to uplifting

an otherwise ‘standard’ kitchen. I caution

my clients to think carefully about their

appliance choices too. It’s very easy to

get excited about the latest gadget, but

with appliances a large proportion of

the overall cost of a kitchen, be realistic

about how useful an appliance will be.

Do you really need an oven with 42






Without doubt, the most important lesson

is to design holistically and to engage

all of the senses. It’s not enough just to

create a pretty, ‘instagrammable’ room.

The way we experience our homes and

workplaces is crucial to our mental

health and performance and shouldn’t be

underestimated. From choosing a colour

palette to reflect your personality and

emotional needs to providing good air

quality, creating a harmonious space that

‘feels’ and functions as good as it looks is

key to good design.







There is still a strong appetite for openplan

living as it provides the space,

light and connection to one another we

all crave. That said, to mitigate some

of the issues with open-plan such as

noise, privacy issues and cooking-smell

transference from the kitchen, ‘brokenplan’

is becoming a useful design tool.

Broken-plan essentially incorporates

vertical divides within the open-plan

space using glazing, open-backed

shelving, or sliding doors to delineate

areas without closing off the visual impact

of the space. This is also a great way to

bring some architectural interest to an

otherwise ‘large box’ that can too often

feel like an airport lounge! I think anyone

with shares in garden offices will have a

good year ahead…



Houzz are reporting a huge increase in

interest in dedicated activity spaces such

as art rooms, home bars, home gyms and

cinema rooms. I am very excited to see

this as it shows that we are choosing to

design our interests and passions into our

homes. It’s refreshing to feel such a sense

of optimism when chatting with clients

and I am working with warmer colour

palettes and being asked to incorporate

planting and natural texture into room

schemes. There seems to be a continued

need to connect with nature after the past

18 months and I’m loving it!

Julia Kendell will be the design expert

at the Farnborough Homebuilding &

Renovating Show, 15-16 January 2022


www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 23


hit list





Home maintenance is a year-round

endeavour, but these are the top jobs

to get sorted before the worst of the

winter weather sets in:



Check that existing seals are still

intact and repair any cracks or holes

that have formed. For a quick and

easy solution, fit doors with draught

excluders to keep rooms warm and to

prevent energy wastage.


Have a boiler service and check the

system is running efficiently. Many

people put off replacing older boilers,

but you will save money in energy with

more efficient models. If you have one,

make sure your external condenser

pipe is well insulated.


Clear gutters and drainpipes of leaf

debris to reduce the chance of leaks.

Also be sure to check drains for

blockages - prevention is better than

fixing it on a cold night!


Look over all external masonry,

checking for cracks, gaps around

windows or issues with roof. Make

sure your front door closes snugly (and

make sure your property is secure

whilst you’re at it).


Insulate your pipes (burst pipes cause

huge damage). Make sure your loft

insulation is adequate and look into

cavity wall insulation, which can

save hundreds ££ on energy bills.

If you can, look into upgrading the

efficiency of your windows with triple

or secondary glazing.

Why is it that we save all the

property redecoration for when we

are getting ready to move? How

about giving your rooms some

TLC with a fresh lick of paint and

swapping in some new accessories

to update the palette.

Try switching out cooler grey tones

for warmer neutrals and introducing

more natural materials like linen,

leather and wood - this means you

can use your base furniture pieces,

and just give them a lift with new

decorative items.

DIY panelling is another huge

trend which is helping people give

rooms a completely new look for

less - why not try adding a wall to a

bedroom in a strong contrast colour

for maximum impact?



It looks as though working from home,

or at least a hybrid, flexible model is

here to stay. With that in mind, many

of us are choosing to carve out proper

working spaces instead of balancing on

the end of the kitchen table.

Investing in a proper desk and chair

are fundamental - it’s well known that

sitting for long periods on chairs not

specifically designed for desk work can

cause long-lasting pain.

For desks, there are lots of options for

built-in models into wall space or even

stand up desks. If you don’t have the

space for a full office room, you can

still find inventive ways to incorporate a

desk into wardrobe areas or even into

cupboards, meaning the workspace

can be neatly tucked away at the end

of the day and the space can resume

its original purpose. Storage is another

essential element to stop work admin

spilling out into home life.

Finally, take some time to make your

work space look homely - it stops it

from feeling transitory. Hang some

prints, invest in some greenery or buy

some soft furnishings like cushions

or blankets to make it feel like an

extension of your home.

Boston Fern from £9.99, hortology.co.uk;

Hathai Cushion, £34, hauslife.co.uk

24 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

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Email: abs@abspb.co.uk

www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 25



Warfield Park is a spacious residential park established

in 1947, boasting a variety of luxurious park homes, set

among 92 acres of beautiful parkland...

Warfield Park is located on land which

was once part of Windsor Great Park

and is one of the longest established

residential park home estates in the UK.

Our park homes come complete with

generously sized gardens, garages and

parking and are carefully situated to

harmonise with their surroundings.

Warfield Park is like a village, you can

enjoy all the benefits of living in a small

rural community, while having Bracknell

town centre, mainline trains to London,

the M3 and M4 within easy reach.

Warfield Park also boasts a popular

onsite Community Centre, Hairdressers,

Beauty Salon and a coin-operated


The park’s stunning communal areas are

maintained by our experienced team of

groundsmen who tend to the expansive

areas of flowers and shrubs in our

copses and open-areas. To supplement

our established, more mature trees and

greenery, we also have a long-term tree

planting and woodland management

scheme in place to keep Warfield Park

beautifully green.

Warfield Park is run from our on-site office

MacLaren House which is situated in the

centre of the park. Our friendly staff are

available to assist you with any enquiries

or specific requirements. The Park Office

is your main point of contact should you

require information on buying a new park

home or renting at Warfield Park.

Unlike some other residential parks, we

have no age limit and welcome up to

3 well-behaved pets. After all, what’s

the point in living among such beauty

if you’re not out walking the dog to

appreciate it?

Warfield Park has a wonderfully

vibrant and thriving community, our

residents look out for one another and

often become firm friends with their


There is a well-established Community

Association which organises a number

of social events and activities on the

Park. Weekly activities such as Pilates,

the Garden Club and Games Nights run

alongside weekend events at least once

a month.

The Community Association’s yearly

summer fete and winter fair are events

that are not to be missed, with lots to

do for children and adults of all ages!

Whatever your interests there is sure to

be something for you.

To speak to someone about making

Warfield Park your home, call us on

01344 884666, email us

enquiries@warfieldpark.co.uk or visit

our website www.warfieldpark.co.uk,

we look forward to welcoming you.

26 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

New Luxury Park Home Coming Soon!

A high specification Lissett Echappe home (48’ x 22’) with two bedrooms and fully furnished with

superior fixtures and fittings including Bosch appliances, pocket sprung beds and rain shower.

Set within a large plot at the end of a quiet road, incorporating a private landscaped garden,

garage, driveway and parking. Available to reserve now.

This spectacular park home is located in the prestigious Warfield Park, a well-established

park home estate consisting of more than 500 homes located between Ascot and Bracknell.

(images are for indicative purposes but not specific)

01344 884 666



MacLaren House,

Warfield Park, Bracknell,

Berkshire, RG42 3RG


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

A home for life at Buckler’s Lodge, Crowthorne

Opening early 2022

Our state-of-the-art care home will offer luxury

living with 24 hour residential and dementia care.

Register your interest and find out more:

call Kim on 01344 949280 or

email kim.buc.ra@greensleevescare.co.uk

Ask us about our nursing home, Glebelands in Wokingham.


Advice from money

expert - Martin Lewis

on how to handle the

situation caused by the

current energy problems

Energy Bills Crisis

Do nothing. Don’t switch energy firm.

Inaction is the best action right now…

unless they’re trying to double your direct


The energy market is in crisis; prices are

rising, and energy firms are falling. The

cheapest fixed deals cost twice what they

did a year ago. The energy price cap went

up 12% this month (13% prepay) and

more rises are due.

It’s all due to an explosion in the cost of

wholesale gas - and as in the UK we often

use gas to generate electricity, the price

of that is up too. No surprise many people

are panicking, and I’ve been swamped

with questions - so let me run through

the most common ones (my answers are

correct at the time of writing).

Q: With prices rocketing, should I

try to bag a cheaper deal?

A: No. DO NOTHING – the energy price

cap is the cheapest deal. The price cap

limits what providers can charge on their

standard variable (default) tariffs. There

are no meaningfully cheaper switches

available right now.

You’ll be on the price cap, or

AUTOMATICALLY moved to it, if:

- You’ve never switched.

- Your cheap fix ends.

- Your provider goes bust and you’re

moved to a new firm.

So do nowt and you’ll be on, or moved to,

today’s cheapest deal.

The cheapest fixed deal is 35% higher

(around £450/year more for someone on

typical bills). My best guess is that’s too

much of a premium for most to move right

now, but check for yourself by doing a

whole of market comparison, either via

my www.cheapenergyclub.com or any

Ofgem-accredited site (there’s a list at


Q: I’ve heard the price cap is £1,277/

year, does that mean it’s the most I

can pay?

A: No. ‘Price cap’ is a stupid name - it’s

more of a rate cap. There’s no maximum

you can pay for your domestic energy.

The £1,277/year figure is just what the cap

would be for someone on the regulator’s

defined ‘typical use’.

30 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk

While it’s more complicated than this in

reality, the best way to think of it is as a

cap on the rate you pay for each unit of

energy you use. So use more, and you

pay more.

Q: Is it true the price cap will rise

again in April?

A: Almost certainly yes, possibly by 30%

or more. Each cap lasts six months - the

current one finishes on 31 March. It’s best

to think of it as a six-month fixed tariff

you can leave at any time if, and hopefully

when, other tariffs get cheaper.

We have a very good idea what the next

cap will be because it’s based on average

wholesale prices from Aug 2021 to Jan

2022, and we’re already a third of a way

through that. Sadly, come 1 April, the

cap is expected to rise likely by at least

30% (so £400/yr for someone with typical

bills) - yet that’ll still be less than today’s

cheapest fixes.

Q: Does all this apply to the whole

of the UK?

A: No. It is correct for England, Scotland

and Wales, but Northern Ireland has a

different system. For more on that see


Q: I’m comfortably in credit, but

my firm’s hugely hiked my direct

debit, is this fair?

A: It’s not fair if it’s out of proportion to the

cost rise, and it’s worrying. I’m hearing

this a lot - some have seen their direct

debit double. Generally, direct debits are

designed to smooth out your energy costs

across a year. Going into winter, it’s normal

to be a month or so in credit. So as the

price cap has risen 12%, if you’re on it,

expect a similar direct debit hike. If you’re

coming off a cheap fix and paying 30-40%

more, expect that too.

Yet if you’re in credit and your direct debit

is rising way above the rate rise, there’s

an issue. But you don’t have to accept it.

First, do a meter reading, so any direct

debit calculation is based on up-to-date

usage. Once that’s processed, call and

politely ask the firm to justify the hike.

You’ve a right to a fair direct debit under

energy firm licence conditions.

If it can’t, ask for the direct debit to be

lowered. My concern is some firms are

hiking direct debit right now to help their

cash flow, even when it isn’t justified.

Q: I’m on a cheap fix, should I leave

it as I’m worried my firm may go


A: No. To stick with my theme, do nothing

- relish the cheapness while you can.

If your firm goes bust, you’ll almost

certainly be moved to a new provider

at the price cap - the cheapest you can

get now anyway - and all your credit is

protected (though, whichever firm you’re

with, do screenshot now how much credit

you have). So you may as well stick with

your low rate for as long as you can.

Q: My energy firm (Pure Planet,

Avro, Green etc) has gone bust. How

much more will I pay?

A: For most on cheap fixes, shifting to the

price cap will mean paying 10-40% more

than you were before. Though at least you

saved in the meantime, and you’re now on

the same rate you would’ve been on had

you not switched. You can see a full list of

all firms that have gone bust, who the new

provider is, and the cost change at www.


Q: I’m really worried I can’t afford

to pay my bills - what do I do?

A: Emergency pandemic rules mean

your supply can’t be cut off and prepay

customers can get emergency credit.

The best thing to do is communicate

your supplier, and let it know if you’re

vulnerable. It may be able to offer payment

reviews, breaks or reductions. Check if

you’re eligible for the £140 Warm Home

Discount (available from bigger firms

if you’re on the guaranteed element of

pension credit or on a low income and

getting certain benefits).

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair

of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join

the 7.5 million people who get his free

Money Tips weekly email, go to www.


Do you want

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Just simple & honest advice.

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