Wealden Times | WT261 | February 2024 | Education Supplement inside

The lifestyle magazine for Kent & Sussex - Inspirational Interiors, Fabulous Fashion, Delicious Dishes

The lifestyle magazine for Kent & Sussex - Inspirational Interiors, Fabulous Fashion, Delicious Dishes


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Inspirational Interiors • Fabulous Fashion • Delicious Dishes


JFine hand crafted kitchens and bespoke furniture

Designing and handcrafting kitchens since 1994



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February 2024











Dream homes on the market


Upcoming events for your diary


Keep up-to-date with the latest

must-see and must-have goodies


Explore a builder’s

striking new home


Let grand features sing out


Create a talking point with

stunning artworks and find

out where to source them







Emulate Sophie and Sarah’s

clean lines aesthetic


Up your bag game

with Bandolier’s phone

holder crossbody


Rebecca Cuffe polishes up

on metallic fashion


Celebrate relationships and

friendships with Charlotte

Butterworth’s moreish recipes


Josephine Fairley’s edit of

the best red lipsticks







Charlotte Lau takes a look at

the health benefits of kale


Jo Arnell checks out the wellbeing

benefits of engaging with plants



Sue Whigham shares her

ultimate plant picks


From social events to

courses, find out...


Jane Howard gets

mechanically minded



Go behind the scenes at an

architect’s own home project



Sarah Maxwell keeps exercise

interesting in bitesize chunks

Published by Priceless Media Ltd. Kettle Chambers, 21 Stone Street,

Cranbrook, Kent TN17 3HF | Call 01580 714705 | Email info@priceless-group.com

Visit priceless-group.com Copyright © 2024 Priceless Media Ltd. The views of the

advertisers & contributors are not necessarily those of Priceless Media Ltd.



34 pages of the

latest school

news and views.

After page 66.

sponsored by


Our offices are in

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From the


Let’s start this month’s run-down by heading straight

for the food section (my favourite). Charlotte

Butterworth, aka Instagram’s @theneedy.greedy

has put together four gorgeous recipes that are designed

to be enjoyed with friends, family and special people

in your life. Cosy up together with bowls of roast

squash & coconut soup; warming puy lentil salad

with leek, pea shoots, pancetta and halloumi; lightly

spiced cod puttanesca; plus a deliciously rich chocolate

mousse complete with shortbread hearts. Perfect!

Houses this month come in the form of a

generously proportioned Victorian-inspired build

in the pretty Surrey village of West End, followed

by an architect’s own home project where every

square centimetre of space had to earn its keep.

If winter skin is giving you that washed out feeling,

Josephine Fairley comes to the rescue with her rundown of

the ultimate complexion brightening red lipsticks, explaining

that a bold lipcolour can do wonders for self-confidence.

Speaking of nurturing self-esteem, our Education

Supplement is a great place to find out all

the latest news from a wonderful range of

schools across the South East, from nursery

to secondary. Delve into the world of

boarding with info. directly from students

and find out how young people are being

prepared for our rapidly changing world.







See website for further details.

Enjoy your Priceless magazine!

Priceless Team

EditorLucy Fleming

Supplements & Features EditorRebecca Cuffe

Sub Editor & Features Writer Emily Pavey

Design & Production DirectorAnthony Boxall

Sales ManagersLisa Gordon-Hughes

Maria Hurley

Senior Account ManagerSarah Norwood

Senior Account ManagerAndrew Boughton

Account ExecutiveMarnie Newman

Wealden Times Show Director Flo Simpson

Events Manager Liz Miles

Events Sales Director Jude Brown

Financial ControllerStephen Hunt

Accounts Sarah Davies

Nicola O’Leary

Social Media ManagerCharlotte Lau

Managing DirectorVivien Cotterill-Lee

Executive Chairman Julie Simpson


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of the



Damien Pestell picks his favourite

homes on the market

The dream: An elegant and

charming country estate with Grade

II listed Georgian mansion dating

back to the 14th century. Occupying

a delightful position just outside the

Kent Downs AONB, the property

has been a stately home for centuries,

but for the past 24 years has been

operating as an exclusive venue for

retreats, conferences and events.

Where: Between the villages of

West Peckham and Hadlow, with

Tonbridge a 15 minute drive away.

Setting: An elevated position

with outstanding views across its

own lake and listed parkland.

Beds: 14 Baths: 8

Special features: The magnificent

drawing room with late 18th

century carved fireplace has a

pink marble surround which

depicts Marie Antoinette.

Pleasing details: The 16th century

Grade II listed Dower House was

built for the widow of the estate

owner. It has 5 bedrooms and its

own indoor swimming pool.

Outside: The glorious gardens and

grounds include a large area of

parkland interspersed with mature

trees and a 3-acre lake, which can

be crossed via a Victorian stone

bridge. The Georgian walled

garden provides abundant fresh

fruit and vegetables for the house.

Time to town: From Tonbridge

station, 5 miles away, to London

Bridge in half an hour.

Agent: Savills 01732 789700


priceless-magazines.com 10



The dream: A graceful, wisteria-clad detached

home in a semi-rural position just outside the

South Downs National Park. Believed to date

from the late 17th century and built in the

Georgian style, the property is ideally suited

to meet the needs of modern family life.

Where: 1.5 miles from the centre of Lewes.

Setting: Lower Stoneham House is in a

tucked away position on a private road with

views to the surrounding countryside.

Beds: 6 Baths: 3

Special features: The wonderful principal

ground floor rooms all benefit from French doors

leading to the garden, creating an excellent flow

between the interior and outdoor living spaces.

Pleasing details: The pretty kitchen

has been recently reconfigured with

the addition of three Miele ovens.

Outside: The lovely gardens and grounds are

entirely enclosed by a tall brick and knapped

flint wall and offer a wonderful sense of space

with views towards Hamsey and the Downs.

Time to town: From Lewes station,

two miles away, to London Bridge/

Victoria from 70 minutes.

Agent: Savills 01444 446006 savills.com

Lower Halstow


The dream: A unique opportunity to

design your own home in a one-off

development of just nine properties.

Where: In Lower Halstow, just a short drive from

the towns of Maidstone and Sittingbourne.

Setting: A peaceful setting perfect for those

who enjoy the great outdoors, with easy access

to beautiful countryside, stunning nature

reserves and peaceful woodland walks.

Beds: 5 Baths: 4

Special features: This wonderful home is designed

to take full advantage of natural light, with extensive

windows that create a bright and airy ambience.

Pleasing details: Two smaller properties ringfenced

for locally based homebuyers are available

at a reduced price for a limited time.

Outside: Adjacent to the house, a spacious double

garage built from oak has an additional floor that

could be used as a home office, studio or a play area.

Time to town: From Newington station,

a 9 minute drive away, to London Victoria

in approximately 43 minutes.

Agent: Wards of Kent

01634 373531 wardsofkent.co.uk

* CGI imagery



Nr Elham £1,950,000

16th Century period retreat with house, barn conversion, heated

indoor swimming pool, tennis court.

In all about 3.6 acres

Biddenden £1,350,000

An extended and improved unlisted Kentish farmhouse offering

beautifully presented living accommodation. In all just under 3 acres

Egerton £895,000

Detached barn conversion in a lovely location on the edge of the

village commanding attractive views over neighbouring countryside.

Bethersden OIEO £1,500,000

A handsome, unlisted detached Victorian family house with over

4,000 sq ft of accommodation. About 2 acres

West Brabourne £1,495,000

Stunning period cottage, beautifully landscaped gardens with day

kitchen and gym.

In all about 1.35 acres

Aldington £1,425,000

Contemporary style country house with multi bay garaging and EV

charging facilities.

In all about 2.12 acres

Ashford 01233 506260 | www.hobbsparker.co.uk | Tenterden 01580 766766

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Baby Steps

Take note! We’ve rounded up the best

of what to see and do near you

istockphoto.com/Oleksandr Slobodianiuk / letoosen / PJ_nice

Wine & Dine in Style

Are you looking for an unforgettable night away with irresistible

food and wine? Leeds Castle have announced an exclusive

Dine and Stay event, Tastings in the Castle, to take place on

Saturday 16th March, and it promises to be truly top notch.

Arrive at the Castle from 3pm, where you’ll check into your guest

room and explore the glamorous Leeds Castle estate before preparing

for the evening ahead. At 7pm meet with fellow guests ahead of the

butler calling for dinner. The tasting menu will be served in The

Grand Salon where you’ll enjoy a delectable six course tasting menu

carefully curated by the talented chefs at The Curious – formerly

The Curious Eatery – known for their mastery in creating unique,

flavourful dishes. The expert sommeliers of Wine Tours of Kent will

guide you through an exquisite selection of Kentish wines, perfectly

paired with each course. You can even extend your stay by adding

a vineyard tour and lunch prior to the evening’s delights. Prices

for this extra special night away start at £699. leeds-castle.com

Did you know that many of the

outdoor scenes of the hit TV series

Call the Midwife are filmed at The

Historic Dockyard Chatham? You can

now put yourself in the picture and

explore where the real drama happens

with a Call the Midwife Official

Location Tour, which opens on 1st

March. Created in partnership with

award-winning television production

company, Neal Street Productions, the

Call The Midwife Official Location

Tour is the only one of its kind in the

world. You will be guided through

the Historic Dockyard by your very

own costumed Midwife, armed with

a photograph book and tales of their

‘sisters’, before being allowed to

explore the sets, costumes and props

in the all-new, exclusive gallery.

Find out all the details on the website




Saturday 9th March

sees Guildford Choral present

Vaughan Williams’ impassioned plea

for peace, Dona Nobis Pacem, at G Live

Theatre. A most timely performance,

inspired by Williams’ personal experience of

the horrors of WWI. The evening will also

include the gentle and reflective Fauré’s

Requiem, a prayer for those who have

been lost. Guildford Choral will be

joined by Southern Pro Musica,

conductor Jonathan Willcocks

and soloists Charlotte Bowden

(soprano) and Thomas

Niesser (baritone).

Find out more...




Treasure trove

Imagine your favourite vintage store and a Parisian flea market all

rolled into one – then add those secret off-the-beaten track furniture

shops and the bric-a-brac junk shop of your dreams. Sounds good?

You’ll love Sandown Antiques Homes & Interiors Fair at Sandown Park

Racecourse on Sunday 18th February. Their team of seasoned traders

offer an array of decorative antiques, vintage, retro, artwork, garden

ephemera, collectables, vintage clothing, jewellery and much, much

more. Go and experience the buzz first-hand with an atmosphere filled

with colour, character and fun – there’s no other market like it. The stall

holders are an attraction themselves, with more characters than you can

shake an ormolu candlestick at! sunburyantiques.com



Turn to

page 51

for Art


In need

of some bright

ideas for Mother’s Day?

How about booking Blooming Green’s Handtied

Posy Workshop on Saturday 8th March where

you’ll create the perfect Mother’s Day gift – a delicate,

pretty posy in a jar. They also have lots of other workshops

and flower-picking opportunities to choose from.


Or maybe mum would appreciate a night out to see

Thames Philharmonia’s Spring Concert including

Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, at Landmark Arts

Centre, on 10th March? landmarkartscentre.org

At Hever Castle and Gardens you can enjoy a family

day exploring the childhood home of Anne Boleyn

with its amazing grounds, then treat mum to the

carvery (Saturday or Sunday) or the Sunday

afternoon tea (pre-booking essential).


Could the UK’s most practical self-build and home renovation

show – Build It Live South East – help you build your dream

home? Taking place on 24th and 25th February at Kent Event

Centre (Detling Showground), the show will present hundreds

of local and national suppliers, featuring 1-on-1 consultations

with industry experts and live talks about everything

from finding land to heating systems, oak frames to

glazing and kitchens and much more! So, whether

you’re self-building, renovating or extending your

home, Build It Live will prove invaluable.

The first 100 readers to use this link

will get two free tickets worth £24:



The Mountbatten Festival of Music, featuring the

Massed Bands of His Majesty’s Royal Marines, returns

on 8th and 9th March at the Royal Albert Hall

including a Saturday matinee performance. These

concerts display the outstanding versatility of some of

the world’s finest military musicians with the ‘West

End’ treatment adding spectacular lighting effects.

The Festival features a wide range of musical styles,

including music from the big screen as well as traditional

overtures – a right royal treat. royalalberthall.com




A new PAth

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It’s the month of Valentine’s and we’re

all looking to show some love. With that

in mind, this wool jumper from FUND

is a gorgeous luxury inspired by Sir Paul

McCartney and the idea that ‘All you need

is love’. What’s more, it’s part of a collection

that donates profits to the Style for Strokes

Foundation. styleforstroke.com This one is

£165 at fundjumpers.com



From must-sees to must-buys and

must-dos, don’t miss this month’s

round up of what to buy, see, do,

and generally get excited about!

Dry January is over so we

are raising a toast! And in

the month of love, what

better way than with a bottle of Rosé

from Tinwood Estate in Chichester.

This is their beautifully bubbly

Rosé 2020, with a fresh and fruity

flavour that’s just perfect for romantic

celebrations! £35 at tinwoodestate.com

We are loving the new

Threads of India collection

from Sofas and Stuff. In

their latest colab with the

V&A, they have taken

inspiration from Indian

heritage fabrics and made

a series of designs that you

can have made to order

onto any of their key

furniture range pieces. Like

this Snape chair in the Regal

Arabesque which is £2,336

at sofasandstuff.com

Welded jewellery – less painful than a tattoo,

longer lasting than a box of chocolates, and

with a sense of commitment you don’t get

from other gifts. At Atelier VM’s l’Essenziale

experiences at Liberty London, a piece of

elegant jewellery is welded closed as you wear

it to keep on you always. You can also add

beautiful little charms like this ‘Cozy’ charm

which is £80, and can buy one as a gift card

from £220 at ateliervm.com

For your Valentine’s date night, embark on a

romantic journey at The Firepit. Shared plates

take the spotlight, in an indulgent menu that

blends the smoky, barbecue aromas of the

American West with the delicate spices of the

Far East. For £150 per person, the Valentine’s

Day experience promises a bold fusion

of flavours, perfect for creating intimate

memories with your special someone.

Immerse yourselves in a sophisticated yet

relaxed atmosphere, where every dish is an

ambitious masterpiece rooted in vibrant

inspiration. cavehotels.com/firepit-restaurant

This Naydaya Body Blitz body oil is

just what you need to restore some

body confidence in prep for the warmer

seasons. The vegan 100% natural oil

hydrates and tones dry stressed skin,

boosts elasticity, tightens

crepiness, and replenishes

skin texture – brilliant

for brightening skin,

reducing stretch marks

or as a pregnancy belly

oil. £45 at



Chinese New Year falls on

Saturday the 10th, and we

wish all you lovely readers good

fortune this year. It is a time to

wear new things to symbolise new

beginnings, and top of our shopping list, as a

symbol of strength and good luck, is this

gold and ivory pearl necklace by Kasun

London, inspired by the Chinese

folklore legend ‘the Dragon and the

Pearl’. It is £188 at kasunlondon.com

Pancake Day is on the 13th, so we need a good pan

at the ready! Our pick is this Always Pan 2.0 by Our

Place. Its smooth ceramic surface will give your pancake

a lovely even cook, the non-stick surface will let it cleanly slide

onto your plate, and it comes with a sleek spatula, perfect for

flipping! Plus it’s not just for Pancake Day! It’s super versatile

and will take on just about any cooking challenge you throw at

it throughout the year! £130 fromourplace.co.uk


Wealden Times


Fa i r

Save the date


6th-8th JUNE 2024

Hole Park, Rolvenden TN17 4JB

Returning to the magnificent Hole Park Gardens for 3 days of shopping,

gardens and inspiration – the perfect way to start your summer.

Tickets on sale 9th February! Follow us on social media for show updates


Join us at our

Open Morning


“From the moment we first visited,we just knew it

was somewhere they would thrive.” Current Parent

Lingfield College Prep is a thriving independent day nursery and prep school

for children from 6 months - 11 years in the beautiful Surrey countryside.

For further information, to book a space on our open morning

or to arrange a personal tour, visit our website.

Scan to register

01342 858153


Supporting communities

in Kent since 1781.

With offices across Kent and London,

we provide specialist legal services for

individuals and businesses in the Southeast.

+ Contracts & Transactions

+ Conveyancing

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To find out how we can help,

call us on 01622 698000

or email enquiries@wmlaw.uk


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Registered office 5 Eclipse Park, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3EN. Authorised

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SINCE 1911

The Canterbury Auction Galleries

Auctioneers of the rare, the

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Call us to book a free valuation at home or at our Canterbury salerooms: 40 Station Road West, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8AN

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Estate Planning and Probate Specialists

Life has a way of taking unexpected turns. That’s why it’s essential to be prepared,

especially when it comes to protecting what you’ve worked hard for.

We provide personalised strategies tailored to your unique needs so

that your legacy is preserved, and your future is secure.

Contact us to start a simple, important conversation about your future.

Call us on 01892 577092



Estate Planning • Wills & Inheritance • Powers of Attorney • Court of Protection • Probate



Self Made

Words: Damien Pestell

Photographs: David Merewether

Embarking on a renovation

project of their own, builder

Steve Turner and his wife

Sian soon realised they’d

have to knock down the

house they’d bought and start

from scratch to realise their

dream property in the pretty

Surrey village of West End

priceless-magazines.com 26



If you're facing

family problems

or divorce...

we can help

If you’re going through a family breakdown the key to minimising distress is

the right legal advice. In addition to traditional legal advice, we offer a range

of less combative options which put the needs of your whole family first.

Contact our family law team to

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Knowledge. Experience. Results.


If you think your land or

property has development

potential, then give us

a call without obligation

and in confidence.

We are always on

the lookout for

land and property

with development


Many of our

clients retain our

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pay our fees saving

property owners


Commercial buildings for residential

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in the majority of

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blic houses, redundant

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website: sjd-projects.com

email: steve@sjd-projects.com

For more information contact

Stephen Donnelly on:

07739 514350 / 01892 579937


For regular updates, visit us at





Previous pages & above: The open plan kitchen/living/dining area is a

wonderfully bright space thanks to several roof lights. Sian has cleverley

mixed luxury and budget with a beautiful book matched marble clad

wall next to a contemporary electric fireplace that she found on Wayfair

They say a builder’s house is never finished. And it’s

an adage that seems appropriate, if not entirely

applicable, to Sian and Steve Turner, whose

audacious new house was shuttling towards the finish

line when we visited them recently. The project, which

has taken about four years in total to complete, has

pushed boundaries of both the physical and emotional

kind in an ambitious build, full of drama and initiative.

The house itself was masterminded by husband and

father Steve who owns and runs his own construction firm

in Surrey. Steve has been working in the building trade

his whole life and is the definition of a self made man,

who after leaving school at 14 to become a plasterer’s

apprentice has worked his way up to running his own

successful building firm, taking on contracts throughout

some of the wealthiest areas of the south east. Success

however can come with a drawback, which is that

you’re often very, very busy. So busy in fact that Sian

couldn’t find Steve for the start of our interview. But

more importantly, meaning Steve was unable to give the

house the level of attention that he would have liked,

as Sian says, “It has mostly been done at weekends.”

The house itself is in the West End village of Esher,

which for those in the know is a highly desirable



Above: The family’s chocolate labrador relaxes on the leather sofa in the kitchen/dining/living space

postcode which feels like it should be a lot further from

London than it is. Sian explains, “It’s in the heart of Surrey,

but it feels like we’re in the middle of the New Forest.”

Living here had always been a dream for Sian but it didn’t

come easy, “We’d wanted to find a house here but they don’t

come up very often.” However, after a drawn-out search

they did find a plot which could work. “It was a very instant

connection, we all felt that we just had to have the house.”

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Once it became theirs it was over to Steve and his team.

Steve is a man who doesn’t shy away from a challenge

and has a commendable ability to seek the solution

rather than dwell on the problem. But this project must

have tested even his resolve at times. Once he had the

keys he took some of his guys with him to investigate

the new house. The property they bought was a 1970s

three bed, which they were planning to remodel. But

they soon realised it wouldn’t be possible. Steve explains,

“When we bought the plot we were going to extend.

But when we stripped it back the house was in an even

more dilapidated state than we were expecting. There was

rising damp, dry rot, no insulation and no membrane.

So we decided to knock it down and start again.”

Already onto plan B, upon preparing their planning

application they found out that the house was also in the

middle of a conservation area, which was far from ideal.

Steve jokes, “We didn’t really do our due diligence did

we?” After their initial plans received a lukewarm reception

from the council and neighbours they decided to change

tack and withdraw the application before it was rejected.

Consulting with the council they found a new solution

that would work for everyone. Steve explains, “The house

needed to look a certain way to fit in with the area, so

we decided to model it on a neighbouring Victorian

property.” By using reclaimed period bricks in keeping

with the period, the council approved their proposal.

Finally approaching the build of the house they had

another design challenge to contend with. “We were

This page: The earth dug out from the basement was used

to landscape the garden, disguised by a line of gabion baskets

filled with granite setts Above: A corner of the utility room

only allowed to build a certain size footprint, which meant

the house wasn’t big enough for what we wanted to do. So

we decided to excavate the basement and go into the roof,”

says Steve. However it wasn’t as straightforward as he hoped

and upon inspection by a structural engineer he was told

the basement was a no go. “The water table is incredibly

high in the area, so we couldn’t build a basement.” Steve

however, was adamant, “I went to Sian and I told her, we



This page: The stunning downstairs loo

are having a basement!” Working

with a new structural engineer a

way was found. “We needed to

pump the water out faster than it

was coming in, so we had to use a

very powerful pump.” The basement

was built and, like a 90s computer

game, they were onto the next level.

After all the drama, the building part

actually happened very fast. A prefab

home turned up like a piece of large

flat pack furniture and was turned into

a house in no time at all. “It seemed

to take ages to get to a point where we

could start building and then it seemed

to go up really quickly,” says Sian.

As you might expect the house was

actually a lot more advanced than

priceless-magazines.com 34





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Top: The formal lounge Left: The boot room

a piece of flat pack furniture,

which Steve explains, “It’s a

Kingspan SIP system and it has

the highest levels of insulation

that you can build with.” It

stands for Structurally Insulated

Panels and it’s a system built

in Scotland that has been used

in the U.S. for years. The great

thing about it is the panels

are extremely lightweight but

incredibly dense, which means

a very well insulated house can

be erected very quickly. Steve

explains the benefit, saying,

“The house across the street

which is a third of the size uses

double the amount of energy.”

To make sure the house retains

the heat they also had to make

sure that no air escaped. Steve

clarifies, “You can’t even have

a letterbox in the front door.”

Once the house was habitable

Sian, Steve and family moved

in, but there were still some

teething problems to work

through. Sian says, “When we

moved in there was no drinking

water. So I had to walk out to

the street to fill up the kettle!”

They also didn’t have a drive or

a garden which made it hard

to keep the house clean, Sian

says laughing, “Every time you

went outside you got covered

in mud.” When we visited

you could see there were still

some unfinished parts, with

workmen busily finishing off,

but it was very nearly there.

Entering the house for

the first time was a bit of a

surprise. As lurking behind the

quaint Victorian exterior isn’t

quite what you’d expect.



Above left: The impressive centrepiece of the house is a spiral staircase handmade from solid American walnut

Above right: One of the first floor bedrooms and artwork created by Sian

Steve describes, “It’s a three storey

house, but from the outside it looks

like a single storey.” Walking through

the main entrance the impressive

centrepiece of the house welcomes you

– a staggering spiral staircase handmade

from solid American walnut. Stretching

across four floors from roof to

basement it’s quite a sight, with the

roof skylight flooding the stairwell

with daylight all the way down into

the basement. And despite it being

a huge success they initially thought

they’d made a big mistake, Sian says,

“The guy who delivered it arrived in a

beaten up old transit. He told us that

the entire staircase, which is enormous

by the way, was in the back of the van.

We looked at each other and thought,

“Oh my god! What have we done?”

When they checked it though they

Walking through the main

entrance the impressive

centrepiece of the house

welcomes you – a staggering

spiral staircase handmade

from solid American

walnut. Stretching across

four floors from roof to

basement it’s quite a sight,

with the roof skylight

flooding the stairwell

with daylight all the way

down into the basement

found that not only was everything

there, but it was exquisitely crafted.”

After taking in its beauty, we left

the entrance hall entering a formal

lounge through a pair of chunky

handmade doors, “All the doors are

solid American walnut which matches

the stairs,” Steve says. Inside, the room

feels refined with pretty wood panelling

and a chandelier – both Sian’s touches

who did all of the interior design. Out

and across the hall, a study is currently

being used as a storage room and

beyond is a large open plan kitchen/

living/diner, a room which I could see

myself spending a lot of time in. The

fitted kitchen is on one side and has a

large island, while across the room is

a lovely dining area with living space

behind. It’s all very cosy with some

distinct zones for the things we all

priceless-magazines.com 38





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This page: The children’s rooms are grown up, tranquil spaces with panelled walls and calming

colour palettes. The house features luxury en suite bathrooms throughout

love. The space is also very well lit with

a large roof light above and substantial

sliding patio doors across the rear wall,

which open out onto a patio and rear

garden. The garden, although it may

not seem immediately obvious, is raised

by a metre and is where they put all

the earth from the basement. But you’d

be hard pressed to notice it as the step

is well disguised by a line of gabion

baskets filled with granite setts, which

were a freebie when the budget was

running low. Sian remembers, “We got

a call from our friend who had over

ordered all these granite setts and



Top: The staircase stretches across four floors, from roof to basement. A roof light floods the stairwell with daylight down all the way into

the basement Above left & right: The main bedroom is right at the top of the house, with a cosy TV snug tucked under the eaves

did we want them? So we drove over

there through the middle of London in

three vans. I felt like Del Boy Trotter!”

The baskets do work well and were all

the more satisfying due to their thrift.

Upstairs, the first floor landing has

some tasteful modern art adorning

the walls. I comment admiringly as

we pass and Sian replies, “Oh I did

those! Our budget didn’t allow for the

artwork that I’d wanted, so I took it as

inspiration and made my own.” I tell

Sian they’re excellent and mean it, she’s

got a fantastic eye for interiors. Their

children’s bedrooms are off the landing

also, all very nicely sized rooms,

uncluttered and with peaceful colour

palettes. Sian said of the decor, “We’ve

tried to keep it as timeless as possible,

with earthy and neutral undertones.”

Going up into the roof it still feels

priceless-magazines.com 42

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This page: Monochrome tones have been

mixed in the main bedroom en suite

in a variety of textures and patterns. A

large spa bath occupies a cosy corner

roomy despite being a more limited

space, “We tried to make the best use

of the space,” says Sian. The main

bedroom takes up most of the floor,

with a snug TV area tucked away in

a corner just below two enormous

Velux windows which open out to

the rooftops of Esher. Sian remarks,

“They’re the biggest that they do!”

Underneath, the lower eaves have been

turned into some invaluable extra

storage space next to the bed, and

across the room the en suite comes

with a quirky large round bath and

some more monochrome Victorianesque

tiles. Elsewhere the gorgeous

marble topped double vanity unit has

his and hers sinks, while behind a

walk-in shower completes the room.

Reaching the end of the finished

house and Sian and Steve’s house

story to date, my time with them

drew to a close. The home will

continue to unfold over the coming

Above left: The striking form of the extension is evident from

outside, where wooden cladding runs from floor to ceiling on

the structure, creating a semi-sheltered area of patio

Above right and left: Emma and Terry have opted for earthy and natural

tones throughout the barn to complement the worn, warm wood

weeks but I’m sure with a lot less

drama. The obstacles they faced

with each stage would have put most

people off, but it’s testament to their

determination and complementary

skills that they’ve always found a way.

Together they make a great team

and now all that’s left to be done

is finish what they started. “We’ve

promised our son that we’ll have it

ready for his birthday so that he can

have a party,” says Steve, “so it’ll be

done by then.” Knowing Steve, he’ll

definitely rise to the challenge.

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West End House

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Laura Dunmow 'Soothing

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Victor Egorov ‘A View

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“There is a growing desire for

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woodlands and seascapes

remaining a firm favourite.”

– Julie Pugh-Jones,

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“The painting style that’s just not

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is those beautiful atmospheric

abstract landscapes. Usually

large-scale and in a variety of

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they bring the idea of nature back

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– Abigail Thomas, Visual Arts

Curator at Landmark Arts Centre


State of the


What’s hot in the art world in

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“We have seen an upsurge in

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“2024 sees a definite trend for more sustainable

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materials, our own Pippa Burnard uses old

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– Julie Pugh-Jones, Partner of the

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“The biggest trend we can see emerging in the

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The Art Calendar

For all those interested in art, the first

half of 2024 holds lots of potential to

explore for all tastes and timetables

Until Sun 3 March

The Dance of People and

the Natural World

Lagos-based artist Nengi Omuku’s first major UK solo

exhibition comes to Hastings Contemporary. Exploring

her profound love of nature Omuku’s recent works evoke

a sense of safety, serenity, and re-immersion into nature.

The exhibition also beautifully presents the vibrant

contemporary Nigerian art scene, with Omuku’s use of

composite strips of the Nigerian fabric sanyan.​

Find out more at hastingscontemporary.org

Until Sat 9 March

Catherine McVean:

Artist in Focus

New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham, Surrey, puts a

spotlight on Catherine McVean’s renowned still life oil

paintings. McVean paints traditional and quite ordinary

subjects with a vibrant sense of colour and texture,

and an interesting mix of classical composition with a

contemporary touch. The end results are timeless and

serene celebrations of the beauty of the everyday, calling

to us all to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

Find out more at newashgate.org.uk

Fri 15 – Sun 17 March

Contemporary Textiles

Fair 2024

For this special event, the iconic Landmark

Arts Centre in Teddington will be filled with

over 50 artist stands, hands-on workshops, live

demos, and inspiring special exhibitions at this

much-anticipated event. Textile enthusiasts and

collectors will find textural artworks, wearable

masterpieces, handmade homeware, and unique

curiosities, all of great contemporary quality!

Find out more at landmarkartscentre.org

Every Weekend in May

Artists Open Houses

Alongside the Brighton and Fringe Festivals, this

unusual celebration of art gives artists from all

walks of life the opportunity to show their work.

It’s a unique chance to wander Brighton delving

into the worlds of interesting local creatives beyond

the art world mainstream. See art displayed in

welcoming, open and friendly settings from small

galleries, studios, and even some artists’ own homes,

often with treats and entertainment to enjoy too!

Find out more at aoh.org.uk

Wed 6 – Sat 10 March

Affordable Art Fair

Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea Park this Spring!

This unforgettable week of art is a great opportunity

to discover the best in contemporary art from over 100

leading local and international galleries. Expect thousands

of pieces in all styles and mediums available from £50 to

£7,500. See a special brand-new installation celebrating

International Women’s Day, curated edits of the best art

under £500, Art After Dark Lates, and delightful bars and

cafés. There’s something for every art lover to enjoy!

Find out more at affordableartfair.com

Until 14 April

The Ellen Prebble


Hastings-own, Ellen Prebble’s joyful family-friendly

work is filled with bold colour and familiar scenes

with influences from pop culture, animals and the

natural world. Having studied Art at Hastings College,

joined the studio at Project Art Works (a collective of

neurodiverse artists and activists), and often visiting

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery throughout her life

– this is the perfect setting for her first solo show.

Find out more at hmag.org.uk

Wed 7 Feb – Sat 1June

Graham Clarke: A

Retrospective – 65 years

of printmaking

Guaranteed to lift your spirits and make you smile.

Maidstone Museum is offering a tour through Graham

Clarke’s wonderful 65 years depicting Kentish scenes,

misinterpretations of history, travel, boats and the sea,

Shakespeare and much more besides – in his characterful,

incredibly detailed, often humorous, arch-topped

etchings. Find out more at grahamclarke.co.uk



priceless-magazines.com 52

Small house,

big ideas

Words: Jo Arnell

Photographs: David Merewether

Architect Sophie and civil engineer Sarah

certainly brought their work home with

them when they took on the tricky

extension of their own Victorian end-ofterrace.

Making use of every centimetre of

space possible, they designed side and rear

extensions which are almost completely

invisible from the front of the house



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Previous pages & this page: Through the addition of

a kitchen and side extension, Sophie and Sarah have

increased the footprint of their cottage by over 50%

We’ve all seen weird and unbalanced loft extensions,

ground floors that creep too far down the garden

or jut out at odd angles. There are regulations

set in place to guard against many issues, but it is hard

to legislate for beauty and taste. Extensions can appear

incongruous, charmless – or worse, be a faux copy of the

original style, ending up neither matching nor contrasting,

but undermining a building’s integrity. It is all too easy to

focus on how the internal space will be, to focus on details

and not think about the overall look – and end up with a

weird box sticking out of the side of your house. Avoiding

this can be tricky. Employing a good architect will help.

There are no photos of the front of Sophie and Sarah’s

extended period home here, you will need to visit Sophie’s

website sgarchitects.co.uk, or take my word for the fact that

this is a shining example of how to extend. Both the loft

and kitchen extensions have been designed with enormous

care and attention to detail, inside and out, so that the end

result truly enhances the external appearance of the property.

“The bricks on the extension are deliberately a different

colour,” explains Sophie. “They tone in with the bricks

of the original house, which are dark brown. There’s a

contemporary contrast and juxtaposition – we didn’t

want a pastiche of the Victorian.” The clever mix of

bricks complements the original style, tying the old



and new together into a cohesive whole on the outside.

The careful blend of classic and contemporary continues

throughout the interior, and the new spaces blend seamlessly

with the original. It has all been very well thought out,

but when the couple first bought the house it was far from

certain that they’d even be able to do a loft conversion, as

Sophie explains. “For my work I do lots of loft conversions.

Sarah asked if we could do a loft here, and if it had been

a client asking, I’d have said no, because the roof ridge

height was lower than ideal; through careful planning

we were able to find a solution with a large dormer at

the back and rooflights over the en suite which is tucked

into the slope of the front roof.” This has meant that

they’ve managed to squeeze a whole bathroom into what

normally becomes a cupboard or waste of space. It was

a tight fit though and the shower door had to be made

and fitted precisely to match the angle of the ceiling.

Ingeniously the staircase up into the loft is not separated

into what could have been a gloomy, narrow access

point, but incorporated into the room, so that valuable

space is saved and the third floor feels open and airy.

Light comes flooding into the loft room through a large

window and from the rooflights. “The picture window runs

full width at the back, which brings in so much natural light.

It is a lovely place to wake up in – and have the view.”

The loft extension was the first project the couple

completed when they moved in, and Sophie has a huge

tip for anyone going through the house renovation or

extension process, especially undertaking work in phases,

as and when affordable. “When we first moved here it was

a two bedroomed house with one double bedroom and a

single. We decided to do the loft extension immediately to

create an en suite bedroom, which meant we could have

family and friends to stay, and that we had also turned it

“There was already a

1980s extension with

a kitchen and a loo

at the back, and we

badly needed to change

that because the best

view of the garden

on the ground floor

was from the loo.”

priceless-magazines.com 56

Equity Release and Interest Only Mortgages

Increasingly, Equity Release plans

are being used to repay Interest Only


Financial news keeps reminding us how

many Interest Only mortgages are due

for repayment over the next few years

where no plans have been made to repay

the loan. Interest has been paid, often

for years, but the capital is now due for

repayment. Options for repayment include

selling and downsizing however, for some,

a more attractive option is to re-finance.

Equity Release/a Lifetime Mortgage is

often the most attractive solution if people

do not want to, or are unable to sell.

What is the difference between Equity

Release and Lifetime Mortgages?

The term ‘Equity Release’ had got itself a

bad name. As products become more

flexible, the term ‘Lifetime mortgage’ is

a more accurate description however,

essentially, they are the same thing!

With most plans, YOU still own your

property. The lender requires a first

charge – just like any other mortgage.

There is a particular ‘spotlight’ on Equity

Release due to its long-term nature

and the typical type of customer.

Equity Release is regulated under the

Financial Conduct Authority (like all

mortgages), and is also supported by the

Equity Release Council. Any reliable Equity

Release adviser should be a member.

What are the different types of plan?

There are typically two routes –

‘Roll up’ and ‘Pay as you go’.

With a ‘Roll up’ plan, interest is charged

on the initial release and added to the

debt. Over time, the debt grows. The

original loan, plus the accumulated

interest, would typically be repaid

when the property is sold (either

on death or moving into care)

A ‘Pay as you go’ plan also provides an

initial release, but instead of the interest

being added, the borrower pays it (on

a regular or ad hoc basis), meaning the

debt remains level throughout its lifetime.

Neither is right or wrong and there

are merits to both depending on

individual circumstances.

Regardless of the reasons for considering

Equity Release, Sarah would strongly

recommend seeking advice as to

whether, or not, this route is appropriate

for your individual circumstances.

There are many plans to choose

from, and finding the RIGHT option

is important to ensure the decision

is not just suitable at the outset, but

that it remains suitable later in life.


Call Sarah on

01622 631372 or 07789 007447

or e-mail her at


You may find answers to

some of your questions at


Equity Release can reduce the value of your estate and can affect your eligibility for means tested benefits.

Ferrell Financial Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registration number: 678768



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OrlestoneOakWT252.indd 1 04/04/2023 10:36

Above left: The downstairs loo

Above right: Sophie’s study borrows light

from the kitchen through what was an

original window, now cleverly made into

an internal archway that links the two

rooms Right: Sophie and Sarah replaced

the cottage’s 1980s additions with a

sensitively designed side and rear extension

into a three bedroomed house. Doing

it this way – rather than doing the

kitchen first, as many people do –

meant that we added tangible value

straight away. You add far less value

doing a kitchen extension than if you

add a bedroom and bathroom.”

Imagining the mess that loft

conversions create, it makes sense to

start at the top of the house, but it

was a massive help money-wise too.

“We had always imagined undertaking

work in phases and by converting the

loft first we were able to remortgage

and release equity to finance the

later extensions,” says Sophie.

By the time they were ready to start

on the kitchen – something they’d

been itching to do, due to the poor

layout of the existing downstairs

rooms – they had a much clearer idea

of how to make it flow. “If possible,

it’s best to live in a house for a time

before making changes,” she says, “to

see how the light comes in – how to

make the most of that and the space.

“There was already a 1980s

extension with a kitchen and a loo

at the back,” she explains, “and we

badly needed to change that because

the best view of the garden on the

ground floor was from the loo.”

An understanding of scale and

proportion helped them to be bold

and create a workable and beautiful

space downstairs. “We were keen that

the extension didn’t push further into

the garden than the previous footprint

of the bathroom, so the extension is

very modest and makes use of the

dead space that existed to the side

of the house. By adding just over a

metre in width, the transformation of

the space is staggering. Upstairs it has

made a very narrow family bathroom,”

she adds, “but it works well.”

Another successful addition

is the living roof on top of the



This page: With some clever planning, the slender side extension has allowed the installation of a whole bathroom on the first

floor, complete with separate bath and shower. It all fits into an area which could easily have just become storage space

kitchen extension, which acts as a

leafy thermal regulator. “It’s great from

an architectural point of view – cool

in summer and warm in winter, like

having a carpet on the roof – and an

extra garden.” The only problem with

it was the installation. “Having upsized

the roof joists to support the additional

weight, we had planned to lay the green

roof ourselves if the budget allowed

at the end of the project. We hadn’t

anticipated the sedum sheets being

as large and heavy as they were when

they arrived fully saturated after heavy

rain, so followed a comedy sketchworthy

process of Sarah cutting the

sheets in half to carry them upstairs

through the house, soil dropping

as she went, to pass them through

an upstairs window to me to lay.

Thankfully the joints grew over very

quickly and now it looks lovely – and

there are bees all over it in summer.”

The living roof blends well with

the natural look of the charred

texture on the wooden clad extension

above – achieved via a Japanese

wood preserving process called

Shou Sugi Ban – which in turn

blends perfectly with the brownish

bricks of the kitchen extension.

There is an uninterrupted view from

the front entrance through to a huge

sliding door at the other end of the

house, that leads straight out into the

garden, so that light floods all around

the ground floor. A room that could

have been dark and poky is Sophie’s

study, but this borrows light from the

kitchen through what was an original

opening into the galley kitchen,

now cleverly made into an internal

archway that links the two rooms.

Small Victorian houses have a

tendency to be cramped and dark,

divided into several small rooms,

but by opening up the new kitchen

and dining space, Sophie and Sarah

have brought in masses of light.

They have added in more windows

in the form of rooflights. “A key to

creating a feeling of space in a small

house is to use light cleverly,” explains

Sophie. “Ask to add rooflights to

bring light into the darkest corners –

they can make a huge difference.”

But it is the streamlining of the space

that makes the main living area feel so

calm and open. The walls and ceiling

are painted in soft oatmeal or off white

throughout. The floor tiles are a similar

colour too, which creates an almost

floating effect. “This is what makes it

feel spacious,” explains Sophie. “You

can then bring colour and warmth to

the space with artwork and plants, and

use shelves and objects. We have a great

interior stylist, Molly Hill, who has

helped us create the look.” Having

priceless-magazines.com 60

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We offer home surveying, precision templating and fitting, expert advice and a factory

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This page: The main bedroom has another cleverly conceived space-saving bathroom tucked into the eaves. A picture window

runs the full width of the room, flooding it with light – “It is a lovely place to wake up in – and have the view.”

the main living area all as one and co-ordinated all the way

through allows for some of the smaller rooms to have their

own characters. The loo has been tiled with quirky salmon

coloured scallop tiles. Elements in Sophie’s study – her desk

and shelving units, tucked behind the arch – have been

made in her company colours of bold green and orange.

Detail is important, as is working with trusted

suppliers, a case in point being their builders Sixmile

Construction, who Sophie has worked with on many

projects. “That’s how I approach my projects with

clients,” she says, “it’s all about the smaller details and

gaining an understanding of one another, so that you

and your wider team are always working together.”

“I always start by using hand drawing to communicate

ideas to clients – CAD software looks so final and is not

collaborative in the early stages of design – it’s vital to

understand how people live and what’s important to them.

It can be a bit like being a therapist at times,” she adds,

and it’s obvious that it’s something she has a flair for.

There are some brilliant tips and solutions to space issues

here – insights gleaned from the lessons learned in creating

both their previous flat, this house and from Sophie’s

experience in helping her clients achieve their aims.

Period houses can be tricky to update sympathetically.

Transforming small dark rooms into light and spacious

living areas, without ruining their character, is hard.

Expanding an existing building, while preserving the

spirit of the original, harder still. It takes empathy,

respect and an understanding of how to best inhabit

a space to make it fit for contemporary living and at

the same time retain a sense of place. Using Sophie’s

architectural experience, Sarah’s engineering prowess and

the combined skills of their interior specialist and building

contractor, they have more than achieved it here.

Address Book:

To speak to Sophie about a design project,

visit sgarchitects.co.uk



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Helping HAND

What is the best way to pay school fees for your Grandchildren?

It is only natural to want to give your

loved ones the very best start in life.

As the cost of private education in the

UK continues to rise and with the

possibility that a future Government

may push these even higher by

removing the VAT exemption for

fee-paying schools, now more than

ever, Grandparents are stepping

in to help pay for school fees.

Doing so can be a very tax efficient

way of passing on assets as part of a

wider estate plan, but it is important

for individuals to carefully consider the

best way of gifting money for school

fees, based on their unique situations.

Here, we outline some of the

options open to those who are

thinking about funding private

education for their grandchildren.

Gifting cash outright to

pay for school fees

Perhaps the simplest option is

making an outright gift to pay for

school fees. Such gifts are Potentially

Exempt Transfers (known as PETs)

and are only taken into account for

Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes if

you die within seven years of the gift.

This is known as the ‘seven year rule’.

Some gifts are completely left out of

the IHT calculations, and are not

subject to the seven year rule. You can

give away £3,000 a year and can roll

forward one year’s allowance if it was

not used the previous year. You can

also give up to £250 to an unlimited

number of people each year. However

these are unlikely to be enough to

cover school fees on their own.

Gifting cash out of

surplus income

Regular gifts made out of surplus

income rather than capital are exempt

from IHT, and so paying school fees

termly could fall under this. It is vital

to keep detailed records of such gifts

to assist your executors down the line.

It is worth looking at HMRC’s

form IHT403 to see the

type of records that your

executors will be expected

to provide to show that

any gifts were actually out

of surplus income and not

investments or savings.

Setting up a trust to

pay for school fees

Another option would be to set up a

trust. This is a particularly good option

if you want to give away money, but

would still like to retain some control.

There are a wide variety of trust

structures, but the most likely ones to

be used for this purpose are generally

either a discretionary or bare trust.

There are specific tax implications

involved with setting up trusts, including

both IHT and Capital Gains Tax, so it

is really important to take expert advice.

On a final note, while it is admirable

to wish to help your loved ones, it is

also important to ensure you retain

enough capital to ensure you have

a comfortable retirement, especially

taking into account the rising cost of

care. Only gift what you can afford.

If you have any questions about the

above points, or anything else related

to wills, estate and tax planning,

then one of our team would be

happy to help at info@ts-p.co.uk.


70 99



Schools tell us their latest news


Two schools detail their students’

opportunities to shine


The Granville School explains the

benefits of Positive Education





We chat with Sophie Bradshaw,

Head of Dulwich Cranbrook



78 Impressive artwork

from our schools


Marlborough House unveil

their new art department



We get the lowdown on

boarding at two of our schools


How are schools preparing their

students for what’s ahead?



We hear about student leadership

70 91


Language teaching in our schools


Tonbridge School discuss their relationship

with their community


Reed’s School reveal those all important revision techniques

Thank you to Longacre School for

providing our cover image. Find out

more at longacre.surrey.sch.uk






sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

Vitamin Sea

Eastbourne College is

celebrating success in the Talk

Education Awards for Innovation

2023, winning in the Inspiring Sporting

Activities category. The Awards showcase

pioneering schools who are taking steps to

modernise the face of independent education, with

the Inspiring Sporting Activities award highlighting

initiatives to get pupils active. Eastbourne College

was recognised for its focus on ‘blue health’,

as it uses its coastal location to benefit

pupils’ physical and mental wellbeing

by encouraging outdoor activities on

and by the sea.


Wellbeing Award

Eastbourne College and St

Andrew’s Prep have recently been

presented the Wellbeing Award for

Schools. The award recognises schools that

prioritise and promote mental health and

wellbeing in their communities and is granted by

Optimus Education in partnership with the National

Children’s Bureau. Tom Lawson, headmaster of

Eastbourne College, said: “Wellbeing is built into

our founding ethos – our school motto is ‘Ex

Oriente Salus’, meaning ‘safety’ or ‘health from

the east’, so we’re delighted to receive the

Wellbeing Award for Schools.”





We catch up with all the latest news from

some thriving UK education providers

Ready for Success?

“At The New Beacon we

encourage intellectual curiosity.

We want our boys to be independent

free thinkers who strive to achieve their

best but care about the success of their

peers; fearless adventurers who willingly share

the limelight; all-rounders who seize opportunity

for the joy of taking part; individuals who are kind

members of a team; positive role models who can walk

tall with humility, comfortable in their own skin,

demonstrating courageous integrity and empathy.

The character of our boys sets them apart, their

achievements give them the confidence

to find their place in the world.

Ready for success? Ready for The

New Beacon.”


priceless-magazines.com 70

New Times a Head

Saint Ronan’s has announced

the appointment of Joe Lewis as

its new Headmaster from September

2024, following the retirement of William

Trelawny-Vernon after over 21 years. Joe is

currently a Senior Housemaster at Millfield School,

where he runs a boarding house. Prior to this he was

at Pangbourne College where he held the roles of

Housemaster, Head of English, Master i/c Cricket

as well as Head of Careers and General Studies.

Joe’s parents were Prep School teachers;

thus he understands, recognises and

values the ethos of Saint Ronan’s.


istockphoto.com/ Valeriya Pichugina

Inspring Awe and Wonder

“Here at Sacred Heart

School, we are always looking for

opportunities to provide enrichment

for the children’s learning. Our outdoor

environment has been enhanced recently

to provide a Forest School area which provides

the chance for ‘awe and wonder’ moments and

exploration. For example, the children make camps,

build animal homes, re-enact World War One

drills, bake flatbreads, plant trees and search for

bugs. All the while, teachers question and

support the children to deepen their

knowledge and understanding of the

world around us.”


Arts Council Recognition

Sutton Valence Prep School in

Maidstone has achieved the prestigious

Artsmark award in Gold from the Arts

Council, recognising the school’s excellence in

art, drama, music and culture. Headmaster, Mr

Mark Scholey, says “We are considerably proud of the

diverse and advanced programme of drama, art and music

delivered, and we are delighted to have had that love for the

arts and our passionate approach to creativity accredited by the

Arts Council. Whilst academic study and sport contribute

hugely to school life here at SVPS, our programme of

drama productions, LAMDA lessons, emphasis on

learning about a wide range of artists, design and

technology projects, music tuition and concert

performances bring vibrancy and joy to

each child, at all levels of ability.”




We are Vinehall...

Where every child thrives

With 47 acres for children to explore, and unrivalled facilities in the south east, children

come first at Vinehall. Our high academic expectations are supported by a dedicated

teaching staff affording every child a wide range of opportunities within a happy and

safe family environment.

For more information or to arrange a visit please email:

admissions@vinehallschool.com or call 01580 880413







. 3 0 P M


Vinehall School, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5JL | vinehallschool.com

5121 VINEHALL 210x297 Press.indd 1 09/01/2024 09:25

The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by



Eastbourne College and Bede’s

School discuss opportunities which

give their students time to shine

istockphoto.com/ vectorplusb

Director of Music at Eastbourne

College, Dan Jordan, sings the

praises of music at the school.

It is 6.30pm, the night before a wellneeded

half-term holiday. 650 singers are

preparing to hit the stage and belt out

their house songs in Eastbourne College’s

annual House Singing Competition. After

ten classic numbers, the staff band play and

then the judge tackles the unenviable task

of determining the winners; a girls’ house,

with a sparky rendition of Abba’s ‘Super

Trouper’ scoops the top prize. However,

the competitive element is not the be-all

and end-all (although the housemasters and

pupils may disagree!), the overriding purpose

of the event is to provide the pupils with an

opportunity to sing with friends, perform

in front of others and ultimately enjoy a

fun way for the school community to come

together and celebrate the power of music.

The wide ranging benefits of music,

and singing in particular, have long been

recognised by doctors, scientists and

psychologists. From boosting wellbeing and

cognitive functioning, to helping develop

collaborative and inter-personal skills and

increasing self-confidence, the list is fairly

extensive. There is also evidence to suggest

that children who are involved in some form

of musical study achieve better academic

outcomes than those who aren’t.

Pupils here are indeed fortunate to benefit

from a myriad of musical and creative

experiences with its first-class facilities.

Performance opportunities abound, there

is something for everyone, from elite level

to fortnightly singing practice for all pupils.

“Smiling, having fun, feeling like a number

one”. How serendipitous Abba’s lyrics

seem and how applicable a mantra for our

students at Eastbourne College.

Find out more at eastbourne-college.co.uk

“From cricket

and horse riding

to sailing and

yoga - there is

a physical

activity suitable

for every pupil”

“The wide ranging

benefits of music,

and singing

in particular,

have long been


by doctors,

scientists and


Bede’s School tells us about the

amazing performance opportunities

that they offer.

Bede’s is renowned for its comprehensive

curriculum which extends beyond the

classroom. We give equal importance to

academic, pastoral and co-curricular aspects,

with sport, performing arts and debating

all playing a huge part in shaping wellrounded

individuals who excel in the world.

Bede’s offers a wide range of academic

courses and a unique carousel programme

with three activity afternoons a week, so

pupils can explore their passions and find

hidden talents. We offer over 100 clubs

and activities, and pupils are encouraged

to choose at least one physical activity. But

sports are not solely about winning trophies;

they’re about fostering teamwork, resilience

and discipline. From cricket and horse

riding to sailing and yoga, there is a physical

activity suitable for every pupil.

The music department also offers

numerous opportunities to grow in

confidence, improve performance skills

and express individual personalities. The

performing arts department is a thriving hub

of self-discovery and expression and we are

the only independent school to offer BTEC

Production Arts, which is worth 1.5 A

levels. We are also home to the Legat Dance

Academy and our Model United Nations

Club is a great place to develop debating

skills. What truly sets Bede’s apart is the

unwavering encouragement offered to every

pupil. Our dedicated teachers and state-ofthe-art

facilities provide the basis for pupils

to thrive, explore their passions and develop

their skills. These activities not only build

their skill set, they sculpt their characters,

enhancing resilience and helping them

flourish into confident young people.

Learn more about Bede’s at bedes.org







In this year’s A-levels, 80 per cent of all grades

awarded to Tonbridge boys were at A* or A.

Meanwhile, our latest Giving Day raised a spectacular

£525,000, which will go directly to supporting our

Foundation Awards programme: widening access,

creating opportunities and raising the level of

achievement for all.

As one of the UK’s leading boarding and day schools,

we are looking for bright boys from whatever life

background. Come and see how we forge the

connection between the intellectual and the human.

Visit website

Arrange a visit:



Ranked 6th best independent senior school plus top for boarding

nationally, and best boys’ school in the south-east.

Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide 2024



The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by

True Grit

The Granville School talk us through their positive approach to developing resilience

istockphoto.com/ olnik_y

As a predominantly girls’ school

(we only have boys in our Preschool),

resilience is high on our

list of skills to develop in our pupils.

Although we’d like to think that our

pupils’ future lives would be a level

playing field in an equitable society, the

reality is that this is not yet the case.

Our mission is to foster confidence,

self-belief, emotional intelligence and an

ability to withstand adversity. Much of

modern life is fast-paced, challenging and

competitive. There will be joy, there will

be disappointment. We prepare our pupils

for this. It is widely known that resilience

is a key factor in being successful but

some children develop this more naturally

than others. We found that simply

encouraging a child to be resilient was not

enough and we wanted a way to explicitly

teach these skills as we would teach long

division or how to use apostrophes.

Two years ago, we introduced the

Positive Education programme to our

school, with every class now having

weekly lessons timetabled and all staff

trained in delivering the curriculum.

Positive Education combines traditional

education principles with researchbacked

ways of increasing happiness and

wellbeing. It is about empowering each

individual to explore their own strengths

to lead richer and fuller lives.

Our aim is for every child to flourish,

not just academically but socially and

emotionally. Research shows that for this

to happen, there are six domains that

need to be nurtured. These are positive

relationships, positive emotions, positive

health, positive engagement, positive

accomplishment, and positive purpose.

Alongside these six domains is the

focus on character strengths. Pupils are

encouraged to spot character strengths

both in themselves and in their peers to

“We can do

anything if we put

our mind to it”

make the most of their strengths and

build awareness of weaknesses. This

teaches pupils to acknowledge all feelings,

even negative ones, and learn how to deal

with them so they can confidently face

challenges and deal with less pleasant

emotions such as jealousy or anger.

Activities might include researching

people from history who failed at first

but persisted. Our pupils might take

on challenges that require grit and

determination and share their experiences

and the skills they used to succeed. Music

is used with inspiring lyrics and reflection

time is built into lessons to give students

the chance to think about the skills of

resilience they can use in various scenarios.

In addition to this ‘resilience

curriculum’, our girls have a myriad of

opportunities to practise and hone their

skills. Competitive sport is available

for all of our girls and is highly valued

here. Everything from boxing to water

confidence, Jujitsu to football is available.

This ‘sport for all’ approach fosters

resilience as well as supporting good

mental health.

Drama is a core part of our wider

curriculum from the age of three. Girls

take LAMDA exams, perform in a

professional theatre and take part in a

number of seasonal productions. This

builds confidence and teamwork skills

and also tests resilience. Throughout the

school, girls are endowed with leadership

opportunities. Our School Council meets

weekly with the headmistress to share

pupils’ voices with school leaders. Our

Year 6 prefects walk the school dog and

help with Pre-school playground duties.

They even compose songs for their

younger counterparts to be performed at

our Spring Festival.

Our motto, ‘Believe, Inspire, Achieve’

reminds us that we can do anything if we

put our mind to it and our curriculum

teaches us how to cope when we

encounter difficulties. With a growth

mindset, resilience and ambition, the

sky is the limit for our pupils and they

repeatedly demonstrate this.




The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by

Meet the Head

We get to know Sophie Bradshaw, Head of Dulwich Cranbrook

istockphoto.com/ olnik_y

Tell us about the changes at Dulwich

This is an extremely exciting time at Dulwich

with the opening of our senior school. Our Year

9s are already thriving in their new state-ofthe-art

building, and Year 10 will be joining in

September. The process will complete with the

addition of Year 11 in 2025. In keeping with

our commitment to the individual child, we’re

proud to offer a highly flexible choice of GCSE

options alongside the core compulsory subjects. If

a student has a clear leaning towards a given area,

they will be able to pursue their passions without

restriction. This really sets us apart from many

other schools. Dulwich has a long and impressive

record with 11- and 13-plus and we will maintain

our strident support of children taking these

routes, alongside those who are with us until 16.

What do you feel you bring to the school?

With experience in senior leadership from prep

through to sixth form, the move to Dulwich

feels like a very natural fit. I’m here to facilitate

positive change and anticipate and mitigate any

unintended consequences. Having previously

taught in a school where most parents were

working, I’ve been keen to accommodate the

requirements of the whole family. I identified the

need for an extra class at the bottom of the school

(for 2+), which has already opened and proven

extremely popular. I’ve also introduced a new

system where (aside from emergencies) we only

send messages out to parents twice a week. I’ve

had such a grateful response from parents. We are

here for the whole family, not just the children.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Firstly, I can’t wait to see the GCSE offering

come to life – to see this cohort who we’ve

nurtured through the process go on to study

the subjects they love. It will be such a joy to

see all the amazing opportunities we’ve created

for our students, come to fruition. The second

thing is our wonderful new senior school cafe

space. It is intended as a place for year groups

to mix, so the addition of year 10 will be great

to see. Dulwich is particularly good at fostering

relationships across year groups, through drama

productions, mixed-age sport and clubs – we

currently have Year 7s, 8s and 9s building an

electric car together. It’ll be fantastic to see Years

9, 10 and then 11, socialising and studying in

the lovely space.

What sets Dulwich apart?

Dulwich has ‘a history of changemakers’ (see our

wonderful new website!). We’ve been forwardthinking

right from the start when in 1938

John Leakey, Headmaster of Dulwich College

Prep London, saw the need for evacuation and

created a school camp here in Cranbrook – the

first of its kind. We were one of the earliest prep

schools to become co-ed and I see the current

changes as just another step in keeping with this

philosophy. We’re happy to do things differently.

We have no mobile phones in the whole school

(including seniors). This has a really positive

effect on how the children interact and it helps

parents fight the ‘phone battle’. We also have

‘Dulwich Inspires’ which encourages every child

My favourite...

Book: Cue for Treason by Geoffrey

Trease – which no one has ever read

but which, having read aged 11,

resonated so much that I named my

daughter after my favourite character.

Song: The One by Kodaline – the first

dance at my wedding.

Place: London – I have always

appreciated living close enough for

theatre and museums but far enough

away for fresh air and muddy walks.

to access sport in a way they enjoy to foster a

life-long love of activity. Competitive sport, across

abilities, is available to all students and 90% take

part, but if they prefer individual sport this is

also provided – so in the summer when cricket

is played, those who choose to head off to learn

sailing instead. We’ve always been a school of

proactive pioneers who see what’s needed and

move with the times. The important thing is to

bring the whole community along with you.




sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

Aayush Chhatralia Year 5,


Bird Study, Keilley Morals Year 7, St Andrew’s Prep

Carol Year 13, Ashford School




There’s no shortage of artistic talent at our

schools, as you can see...

Matisse-style collage Year 6

child Marlborough House

Stevie West Year 5, Chinthurst

Rosa Nicolet Year 5, Chinthurst

Bluey Year 13, Ashford School

Eleanor Foster Year 13, Claremont

Tino Tekenende Year 13, Claremont

priceless-magazines.com 78

The Spaces We Occupy and Relationships We Form,

Kiri Marshall Year 13, Eastbourne College

Photo Portrait by Daisy W

Year 4, Marlborough House

Phone Warp Kailash Davy

Year 13, Claremont

Surrealist Illustration Art Scholar Millie G

Year 8, Marlborough House

Audrey Year 10, Ashford School

From a Place of Love Liv Reade

Year 12, Eastbourne College

Architectural Study of Paris Timothy

Meek Year 4 St Andrew’s Prep

Exploration of natural form and metamorphosis

Mana Zhang Year 10, Eastbourne College

Architectural Study inspired by James Rizzi

Neve Kirby Year 4, St Andrew’s Prep



Explore our



Places still available

for 3 and 4 year olds

• First-class childcare for 180+

children, set in spacious green site

• Located 5 minutes’ walk from

Oxted train station

• Weekly Forest School to allow

young minds to discover new


• Specialist music, PE and

swimming lessons

• Voted Most Nurturing Nursery in

South East England by LUX Life


Experiences, Opportunities, and Memories

www.hazelwoodnursery.org.uk 01883 714171

231202_Hazelwood_Nursery ad_A4_AW.indd 1 19/12/2023 16:45

The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by



Art is in itself such an abstract topic, so open to interpretation,

that teaching it to a high standard can be an art form in itself.

So we asked one high-performing local school how it’s done.

istockphoto.com/ Anna Drozdova & olnik_y

Taught in their newly

extended Art and DT

building, complete with

pottery room, kiln and printing

press, and led by Sue McNamara

(née Fields) since 2015, the art

programme at Marlborough

House School in Hawkhurst has

helped pupils achieve a 100%

success rate for senior school art


This triumph is the result of

Mrs McNamara’s thematic and

cumulative approach to teaching

art; layering the development

of techniques, skills and

understanding as pupils move up

through the Prep School. Pupils

are able to access a broad range

of media within the classroom

and often draw inspiration

from their natural environment

by heading to the outdoor

classroom for some ‘plein-air’

painting. Inspiration also comes

in the form of workshops and

trips with a popular Aardman

Animation Workshop (model

makers of Wallace and Gromit

fame) hosted at the School and

art trips to Brighton Pavilion,

the gardens at Great Dixter

and further afield to London


Find out more about Marlborough House, a country Prep

School for boys and girls age 2.5-13 years, at their Open

Day on 6 March. The School offers competitive fees for

entry into Years 7 and 8, and a bespoke learning programme.

They also offer a Year 7 Entry Scholarship with an

assessment day on 11 March. marlboroughhouseschool.co.uk




Book a private tour at marlboroughhouseschool.co.uk | Hawkhurst, Kent, TN18 4PY






If you are considering Senior Schools for your daughter

please join us at one of our Open Mornings.



The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by

A Day in

the Life

... of a boarder at Millfield Prep – named Independent

Schools of the Year Awards’ Prep School of the Year, for

proactively teaching about pupils’ mental health

istockphoto.com/ Mikhail Seleznev

Pastoral care and wellbeing

is at the heart of Millfield

Prep School. Boarding pupils

benefit from extremely high standards

of pastoral care, with all boarding

staff, assistants and matrons working

together to ensure that individual

needs are met, and information is

shared harmoniously between boarding

houses and school leaders. A Pastoral

Committee meeting each week allows

key staff to discuss the diverse needs of

the children.

After an induction day with parents,

each new pupil is given a buddy

within the boarding house, someone

who has been at the school for at

least a year. Their buddy helps them

familiarise themselves with campus

and be a listening ear. Houseparents

and assistant houseparents and their

families live within the boarding

houses which provides the necessary

supervision and support for boarders,

whilst establishing a genuine family

atmosphere. The staff to pupil ratio is


Life is busy at Millfield Prep. Pupils

wake up at 7am ready for a full day

of lessons and activities. The school

day starts at 8.25am and ends at

3.45pm. Games and activities take

place from 4pm, supper is at 5pm and

homework at 5.30pm. From 6.30pm,

houseparents put on activities for

pupils to enjoy such as movie nights,

football and arts and crafts. The

evening routine starts from 8.15pm

for the younger years through to lights

out for all at 9.15pm. Some pupils

will take part in sports sessions before

breakfast, at lunchtime and after

school, depending on their interests.

The weekend is an exciting time for

houses to enjoy activities offsite such

as Go Ape, Dorset Adventure Park and

the seaside. Every so often, pupils enjoy

a well-earned lazy Sunday morning

before an afternoon of fun.

The innovative Wellbeing Curriculum

was launched in September 2021 with

the aim of teaching children skills to

cope with modern life. The curriculum

teaches pupils to identify poor

wellbeing and empower them with

the skills to recognise and improve it

through activities such as yoga. The

concepts explored link to the school

values Be Kind, Be You, Be Curious,

Be Challengers and Be Brilliant.




sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

A Day in

the Life

Cranbrook School in Kent give us the

lowdown on the benefits of state boarding


We all want to give our children the best

start in life; providing them with every

opportunity to explore and develop their

talents. The prospect of sending a child to

boarding school is often seen as a daunting

experience for students and parents but

it can also be one of the most rewarding.

Boarding provides children with unparalleled

opportunities to grow in confidence and

independence, refine emotional intelligence,

and develop social, academic and

co-curricular skills.

Nurturing Environment

with Supportive Staff

Boarding has been shown to add value to a

student’s academic progress and to develop

students who are happy and successful in

their work. This is almost certainly because

boarders learn and embed effective study

habits and have the opportunity to receive

additional academic support. Each evening

dedicated prep times are supervised by senior

teachers who offer pastoral and academic


Outstanding Facilities and

Learning Opportunities

By taking advantage of the entire range of

resources available both inside and outside

the classroom, boarding enables students to

discover and nurture their natural talents.

At Cranbrook, we are fortunate to have

outstanding facilities on our 75-acre campus

and our boarders have an array of options

to enjoy including rock band practice in

the Performing Arts Centre, football in the

Sports Hall, exploring the heavens at our

Sellers Observatory, cooking with friends in


the house kitchens or spending extra time

studying in the library.

Develop Independence and be

Prepared for University

When it comes to teaching students about

independence, sound decision-making, and

forming lifelong friendships, nothing beats

boarding school. Our boarders learn how to

manage their own time, juggling academic

work, co-curricular activities, and relaxation

under the watchful eye of our caring team.

Students are well positioned to succeed as

undergraduates at university.

Spare Time Well-spent

Cranbrook makes sure that spare time is fun

with numerous activities available. Boarders

regularly enjoy house BBQs, trips to theme

parks, the cinema, London theatre shows and

professional sports fixtures. These activities

help students acquire important social skills,

manners, etiquette, and communication

skills through interactions with classmates

and adults. As a result, pupils develop soft

skills but also form lifelong friendships which

far outlast their time at school.

If you are looking for affordable boarding

and a cracking all-around education for your

children, you need look no further than state

boarding schools like Cranbrook. Put simply,

parents of children at state boarding schools

pay only for the boarding fee – broadly

£11,000 to £18,000 per year – receiving in

return a top-flight education and boarding



istockphoto.com/ Mikhail Seleznev



Friday 8th March

9.00 am -- 11.00 am



01732 352 124



girls and boys aged 2.5-13




piece orchestra




- Muddy SSleeos


grammar school

places in 2023


11/13+ scholarships

awarded in 2023


- Independent

Schools Inspectorate





- Talk Educaaon


Sat 9th March




SuttonValenceWT242.indd 1 13/06/2022 16:43

The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by

Get with

The Times

The world is changing apace, so how do our schools equip children for the future?

to apply the knowledge we gain and

acquire skills to be able to function

in and contribute to society – 21st

century skills. There is no subject that

builds all these skills so effectively and

simultaneously as engineering.

istockphoto.com/ Pimpay & Anna Drozdova

Somerhill tell us about their

innovative engineering tuition.

Recent experience during

the Covid pandemic made it clear how

vital scientists and engineers are to our

society. At Somerhill, the pandemic

confirmed our existing approach – to

teach engineering to our pupils at

the earliest opportunity. In 2019, we

became the second school in the UK to

offer the subject to all pupils from Year

3 (age 7) to Year 8 (age 13). Our pupils

have an hour of dedicated engineering

teaching every week, offering them

significantly more than a typical design

and technology (DT) curriculum.

We are proud to be taking the

path less travelled by championing

STEM education. Not only is this

area of learning incredibly beneficial

to children’s all-round development, it

also provides them with skills which

may help tackle global challenges and

open up possibilities in their future

working lives, regardless of gender.

Women are still underrepresented in

these career fields and we want to help

our young girls recognise their potential

to become the engineers the world is

looking for.

So how do we teach engineering to

such young pupils? The short answer

to this question is: we don’t – not

in the traditional sense of teaching

facts. Instead, we teach the skills that

engineers need, equipping our pupils

with practical, hands-on construction

and design skills. Through a creative

problem-based curriculum, pupils work

together to find solutions to challenges.

With technology being omnipresent

in society, we are moving away from

the need to retain knowledge and recite

formulae. More important is the ability

Since launching the engineering

curriculum, it has continually

evolved. Children are undertaking

more complex digital and physical

projects such as creating digital escape

rooms and learning about flight

through the construction of gliders,

as well as building Formula 1 cars

and electric go-carts. Facilitating our

programme are our three state-of-theart

science and engineering labs. We

remain forward-thinking, exploring

advancements like augmented reality

(AR) and virtual reality to enhance our

teaching methods. An exciting range of

STEM clubs are also available to pupils

so that they can continue their learning

in activities outside the classroom.

“...pupils work together to

find solutions to challenges”

By learning engineering in a

problem-based way, our pupils are

empowered to overcome challenges,

fostering a sense of accomplishment

as they complete tasks. This enhances

their understanding of the subject and

contributes to their personal growth.

In the current landscape, cultivating a

sense of achievement through problemsolving

and practical skill acquisition is

more crucial than ever.

Visit Somerhill to see this in action, or

find out more at somerhill.org



sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

As part of its Centenary

Curriculum, Benenden

has unveiled the Electives

Programme – a vibrant

new addition offering lessons and

lectures designed to captivate and

inspire without the usual pressures of

examined subjects.

Students throughout the Junior

School and Sixth Form have been

exposed to an exciting new range

of courses and lectures designed to

focus on learning for its own sake.

They go beyond the confines of

the traditional syllabus and expand

the students’ horizons. Looking at

new issues, topics, and perspectives

challenges students to think differently,

question their assumptions and learn

new skills. Many are cross-curricular

– demonstrating that comprehensive

understanding can only come from

seeing an issue from different angles.

New ideas can be tested, challenged,

and debated without fear of failure

and in the knowledge that engagement

and deep thought are end goals in

themselves. Topics are diverse, with

more than 70 titles inspiring and adding

authentic extensions to the conventional

curriculum. The Arts are well

represented with lessons such as Women

in Philosophy, and African Literature.

Sciences sessions include Astronomy,

The Science of Happiness, and Coding

Through Minecraft. Elsewhere,

Electives give an opportunity to explore

international and cultural themes such

as Global Politics, Francophone Culture,

and British Sign Language.

The Sixth Form provision is equally

enticing, pupils relish the opportunity

to learn for learning’s sake. Bringing

cultural capital and a love of learning

(combined with excellent Oxbridge

interview preparation) the students’

excitement for Benenden’s enhanced

curriculum only continues to grow.

Learn more at benenden.school

istockphoto.com/ Pimpay & Anna Drozdova

Marymount International

School tells us how the IB

future-proofs their students.

As educators, rarely does a year, a

term or even a week go by without

reflecting on the extent to which the

educational experience we are providing

is fit for the world our young people will

“Students are taught

to become reflective


enter, especially when there is so much

uncertainty about what that world will

look like and need. So, how do we ensure

we are educating for a changing world?

The International Baccalaureate (IB)

champions a pedagogical approach

designed specifically to respond to the

needs of a changing world by prioritising

the acquisition of key skills, attitudes and

attributes, rather than focusing solely on

content coverage, memorisation and highstakes

testing. The intended outcomes are

to help learners to become increasingly

self-regulated, autonomous and reflective,

and are best articulated in the IB Learner

Profile, a set of ten attributes or character

traits, the possession of which are deemed

essential in order to successfully navigate

and make a positive difference to the

world in which our students will live.

Through all aspects of school life,

IB schools design meaningful and

authentic opportunities for students to

not only become knowledgeable, but

also inquirers, with a natural curiosity

and the skills to find things out for

themselves, thinkers, capable of critical,

creative and analytical modes of thought,

communicators, able to articulate their

thoughts, ideas and feelings in more than

one language, and risk-takers, with the

courage and determination to face and

overcome challenge. In IB schools, time

is taken to consider what it means to be

principled in one’s thoughts and actions,

and why it is important to approach

difference and the existence of multiple

perspectives with an open mind. Students

are encouraged to become caring and

compassionate, and to develop vital

community-building qualities, such as

empathy, altruism and respect, and grow

to appreciate the importance of balance

in all aspects of life so as to remain happy

and healthy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly,

IB students are taught to become

reflective practitioners who make and

take time to honestly identify their areas

of strength and weakness and set personal

goals and targets that will enable them to

become the best version of themselves.




Prep School Open Morning

Saturday 2 March

9.30am to noon

Boys and girls 3 months to 13 years

IAPS – Boarding, flexi-boarding and day

To register or to book a personal visit please contact:


T 01323 356939


Senior School Open Morning

Saturday 9 March

9.30am to noon

Boys and girls 13 to 18 years

HMC – Day, weekly and full boarding

To register or to book a personal visit, please contact:


T 01323 356609

Bede’s Senior School

Upper Dicker

East Sussex BN27 3QH

Bede’s Prep School

Duke’s Drive, Eastbourne

East Sussex BN20 7XL


Prep School Open Morning

Saturday 16th March 2024


Radnor House Sevenoaks, Combe Bank Drive, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 6AE Tel: 01959 563720

The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by

Future Leaders

and how they are made

We speak to local schools to find out how they

foster leadership skills in young people

Sensible Seniors

Joff Powis, Headmaster, tells us how Vinehall’s

Year 7s and 8s learn leadership skills

In today’s rapidly changing

world, leadership has become

a pivotal trait. Prep schools are

instrumental in shaping young

minds, fostering an environment

that nurtures and develops essential

leadership skills.

Here at Vinehall, we want our Seniors

to be serious in their endeavours,

striving for success in all they do, while

also learning not to take themselves

too seriously. Our hope is that they

will find joy in learning as confident,

self-motivated learners, as well as

finding delight and comfort in the

relationships they enjoy with their

friends and teachers. We recognise

that leadership skills are developed

by giving children the chance to lead,

and over the course of their final two

years at Vinehall, children have many

opportunities to take on positions

of responsibility as Prefects, House

Captains and Committee Leaders.

Pupil voice is celebrated and

promoted through a series

of Committees and

the School


with our Year

8s leading and chairing these forums.

I am a huge advocate of the 13+ Prep

School model and feel it necessary, more

than ever, to sing from the roof tops of

the incredible opportunities open to a

senior prep school child. They are in

a very privileged position, benefitting

enormously from being at the top of

a teaching and learning pyramid as

opposed to being the youngest members

of a senior school community. This

encourages maturity and independence.

Our approach to cultivating leadership

is by empowering our children with

various responsibilities. Our pupil leaders

are actively encouraged to help and

accompany visitors on a school tour or

are seen making conversation with them

over lunch, where this is the natural and

expected behaviour for the senior pupils

in a prep school. Through personal

guidance and feedback, our children

gain confidence in decision-making

and problem solving, integral aspects of

effective leadership.

At Vinehall we create an environment

where leadership is not just a concept,

but is a lived experience. Through a

combination of practical experiences,

mentoring and communication, we aim

to equip our children with the skills and

mindset needed to become the leaders

of tomorrow. This innate responsibility

and maturity is without doubt what

the senior schools shout about when our

Prep pupils move on to them.

Learn more at vinehallschool.com


Green Shoots

Radnor House Sevenoaks is raising

the next generation of eco-heroes

Radnor House Sevenoaks, a day

school for ages 2-18, is leading the

way in environmental education by

empowering students to make impactful

changes. Already students have planted over

100 trees, cut energy consumption, built bug

hotels and produced honey on site.

The school has established a student-led

Eco-Committee of 15 pupils from across the

Prep and Senior School. The committee meets

weekly to discuss environmental initiatives and

has conducted a full Environmental Review to

assess the school’s green status and find areas

for improvement. It then launched Radnor’s

Eco Promise, with actions that every member

of the school community can pledge to fulfil,

from small, everyday activities like using

recycling bins, to tasks such as tree-planting,

beekeeping and reducing power wastage.

“We love having the responsibility to

make our school a greener and cleaner

space.” – A Year 8 student

The committee has linked with the

British Antarctic Survey to raise awareness

of conservation activities and the value of

scientific study beyond the school campus.

Efforts have been acknowledged by Kent

Green Schools Awards, which awarded

students for the impact of the Eco Promise

at the November 2023 ceremony. The team

also received an Eco-Schools Green Flag with

Distinction but, more importantly, it has made

a real difference to the school’s environmental


The committee members and their student

advocates are well on their way to becoming

the next generation of environmental leaders.

To join the Prep School Open morning on

16th March, sign up at radnor-sevenoaks.org


sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

Planning Ahead

We hear about how Parkside School

empowers the next generation of leaders

If one was to ask a Parkside pupil about Leadership,

they could give you an abundance of situational

evidence and skills that are used on a daily basis

within the fantastically authentic oak panelled walls of

the 18th century Manor classrooms. Their inquisitive

nature and forward-thinking mindset showcase a new

generation of leaders, movers, and shakers.

Central to this ethos are pupil committees, each one

a testament to the democratic process that appoints

members who actively participate in the decision-making,

outcomes and implementation of changes in the school.

The School Council oversees general recommendations

made by pupils from Reception up to Year 8 and runs

alongside the more specific committee groups. The title

and participation of a ‘Committee Member’ is a dynamic

and important life skill, the value of which is cemented

at Parkside at a young age. Committee discussions are

recorded in the meeting minutes (taken by a Year 8

pupil) and are reported directly to the Senior Leadership

Team and Governors on a regular basis. Actions are

monitored and reviewed before sharing the results with

pupils via whole school communications such as the

School Newsletter and School Assemblies. Leadership at

Parkside School comes into its own particularly in Years 7

& 8, through roles such as Sports Captains, Prefects and

the Head Boy – who leads his team, promoting Parkside

School’s values: Courage, Confidence and Character.

Parkside takes pride both in listening to the

pupils’ voices, and in bringing new ideas to life in a

comfortable and nurturing environment where they are

respected, listened to, and valued. Making mistakes and

understanding that not all ideas will be the best are good

life lessons that pupils at Parkside School learn before

going out into the world. Mistakes are celebrated and

used as future lessons for success. A challenge-, curiosityand

enquiry-led approach to learning is interwoven

throughout the curriculum and opportunities abound

for ‘facing their fears’. Competitive spirit is important at

Parkside and will continue to feature in the boys’ every

day activities and lessons, as this will be experienced

through life. This said, we recognise that participating

with integrity and respect is a given.

Leadership at our school is a planned commitment to

empowering the next generation of leaders, thinkers and

change-makers. By seeking and embracing the pupils’

voices, capturing their lightbulb moments, and creating

opportunities to ignite that spark, Parkside sets itself

apart as a beacon of educational excellence.

To find out more join Parkside for their Open Day on

Friday 9 March at 9am, or visit parkside-school.co.uk

Young Voices

At Hilden Oaks, giving pupils an opportunity to speak and be

heard is considered key to growing leadership skills

It has long been a tradition at Hilden

Oaks Prep to give pupils a ‘voice’

and for them to be heard. Pupils’

voices help to shape their learning,

leisure and experience of school life. As

they progress through the school we

provide opportunities to take on roles of

responsibility and leadership, preparing

them for secondary school and beyond.

When the children reach Year 6, a

Pupil Leadership Team is elected through

a democratic system involving the whole

school. This includes electing a head boy,

head girl, deputies, and house captains.

Each pupil who puts themselves forward

for one of these roles has the opportunity

to give a presentation to the rest of the

school during the Hustings.

The Pupil Leadership Team acts as

role models for the younger children and

are actively involved in school life. It is all

great experience which helps them grow

their confidence, leadership skills, and

empathy and kindness towards others.

Children lower down the school are also

given the opportunity to represent the

views of their peers. The School Council

is made up of the head boy and head girl

with elected pupils from Form 1 to Form

6. They meet once a week to discuss

ideas for improvements and this is then

fed back to the Headmistress.

When it boils down to levels of

“It’s good that there is a trusted

adult to talk to in private if we

need to.” - Georgia Y6

“It’s not just the teachers who make

decisions, the class views are also

taken into account” – George Y4

confidence to speak out, we are all

different and some children find it hard

to find their voice in a crowd. We listen

to everyone – especially those who need

help – and have a dedicated member of

staff whose responsibility it is to provide

both pastoral and emotional literacy

(ELSA) support for children. This trusted

adult is trained to listen to a child’s

problems or concerns, help them develop

their emotional understanding of the

situation, and find appropriate coping

skills for many of life’s challenges.

Book a tour with the Headmistress or

attend an open day by emailing

registrar@hildenoaks.co.uk, call

01732 353941 or visit hildenoaks.co.uk

istockphoto.com/ C-mere , Anna Drozdova , olnik_y & vectorplusb

priceless-magazines.com 92

Open Mornings Tuesday 5 th March 2024


Friday 15 th March 2024

9:00am–11.00am (both dates)

Boys Girls 3-13 years Founded 1883 Hawkhurst, Kent

Boys & Girls 3-13 years | Founded 1883 | Hawkhurst, Kent







Hilden Oaks

registrar@hildenoaks.co.uk 01732 353941

Preparatory School & Nursery


Boys & Girls 3-13 years | Founded 1883 | Hawkhurst, Kent | 01580 752271



Sarah Clark Photography

© Sarah Clark Photography


THE Discover YEAR Saint 2018

Discover Saint



‘A Christmas Carol’

‘A Christmas Carol’

Senior Play

Senior Play

December 2023

Book an appointment

December 2023

on 01580 752271

or e-mail

Book an appointment on 01580 752271 or e-mail


Book an appointment on 01580 752271 or e-mail



Wealden Times - half page Jan 2023.indd 1 06/01/2023 09:25:43

Wealden Property - Front Page Jan 2024.indd 1 Wealden Property - Front Page Jan 2024.indd 1 93

05/01/2024 12:04:21

05/01/2024 12:04:21

05/01/2024 12:04:21


05/01/2024 12:04:21

Inspiring surroundings.

Inspiring education.

Welcome to Cobham Hall, a day and

boarding school of untold

opportunity, where centuries of

history meet a curriculum for the

future and creativity knows no bounds.

Achieve more than you ever dreamed

possible at Cobham Hall.

Open Morning

Saturday 16 th March 2024

9:30am - 12:30pm

Prestigious Steinway Scholarship for pianists

now added to the range of awards available.

in partnership with

For girls aged 11-18

Co-educational Sixth Form

Cobham, Kent, DA12 3BL | www.cobhamhall.com |

admissions@cobhamhall.com | 01474 823371



The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by


istockphoto.com/ Devita ayu Silvianingtyas, olnik_y, Anna Drozdova, Luisa Vallon Fumi & Macrovector

Sevenoaks Preparatory School incorporates

three foreign languages into its curriculum,

broadening students’ horizons and aiming

to instil a lifelong love for languages. French – the

language of romance and diplomacy; Spanish – the

gateway to vibrant cultures across the globe; and

Latin – the key to understanding the roots of many

modern languages, each bring unique advantages to

the table.

In an age of rapidly evolving curricula, Latin may

seem like an unconventional choice for preparatory

school pupils. However, Latin serves as a solid

foundation for the development of language and

cognitive skills, making it a valuable new addition

to the curriculum at Sevenoaks Preparatory

School. First and foremost, Latin enhances

vocabulary and comprehension. Learning Latin

roots and prefixes helps students decipher unfamiliar

English words, boosting their reading and writing

abilities. It also strengthens critical thinking by

teaching them to analyse complex sentence structures

and develop logical problem-solving skills. Moreover,

Latin fosters an appreciation for the rich history

and culture of ancient Rome, enriching students’

cultural literacy. A strong foundation in Latin not

only improves language skills but also opens doors to

exploring new cultures, broadening horizons.

In the world of modern language learning, there’s no

substitute for real-life immersion. Taking students

abroad, while they are actively studying the language,

provides a host of benefits that extend far beyond

the confines of the classroom. It’s an experience

that breathes life into language education, enriching

students in countless ways. During Year 7’s trip to

Boulogne, speaking with local people, ordering food

at a café and asking for directions allowed pupils to

put their language skills into action. This authentic

interaction fosters linguistic confidence, fluency, and

cultural understanding.

Studying these languages at a young age not only

boosts cognitive development but also fosters cultural

awareness and a sense of global responsibility.

Mastering an additional language equips students to

excel in an increasingly interconnected world and

can provide them with a competitive advantage in

various academic and professional endeavours.

to say

We hear all about the advantages of learning

languages from Sevenoaks Prep School

To find out more about Sevenoaks

Prep School and their language

teaching visit theprep.org.uk



sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

Catherine Mower, Head of Modern

Foreign Languages at Claremont Senior

School, tells us about their international

outlook and opportunities

At Claremont Senior School, we believe

in providing students with enriching

experiences that extend beyond the

classroom, broadening their horizons, and

fostering a global perspective with a love of

languages. We are part of a learning community

of enormous scale so the scope for connecting

and collaborating with students from all around

the world – as part of the International Schools

Partnership (ISP) – is extraordinary and unique.

Each year, the Cultural Exchange Programme

gives students the opportunity to experience

life at one of our ISP sister schools. Last year,

one of our Year 10 students lived and studied

in Ecuador for a month, and a Year 12 student

travelled to Spain. As both found out about

the unique cultures of their chosen countries,

their exchange partners joined the Claremont

community to experience school life back in

East Sussex.

Last year, one of

our Year 10 students

lived and studied in

Ecuador for a month

istockphoto.com/ Alhontess, Devita ayu Silvianingtyas, olnik_y, Anna Drozdova, & Macrovector

The number of families taking part continues to

grow each year with a record number applying

for the 2024 programme. This runs in tandem

with our Virtual Exchange Programme, which

next year will enable Year 11 Spanish learners to

practise their skills and make new friends with

Spanish speakers, whilst being supported by an

online library of bespoke, interactive resources.

Multilingualism is a pillar of the Claremont

school vision. French, Spanish and German

are offered together with a range of ‘first’

languages (Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Polish

and Persian), for which many students gain

formal qualifications. With so many cultures

to celebrate and languages to hear at school,

promoting the learning of a second language

is a priority for the curriculum, in addition to

developing life competencies beyond language

and communication skills.

Claremont is a local school, with a global

outlook. The contributions made to school

life by our vibrant international boarding

community undoubtedly enrich the student

experience for all. Learning experiences beyond

the classroom and on site social interactions

between teenagers, add relevance and meaning

to our MFL programme. Our academic

pathways, supra curricula and multicultural

community are setting young people on a path

to becoming more responsible, global citizens.

To find out more about Claremont and

the International Schools Partnership, find

them online at claremontschool.co.uk





results including

100% pass rate*

for Kent 11+ Year-round

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all pupils

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finalists in

Programme for

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school transition


An outstanding education for outstanding girls

*for pupils with us since Reception

Scan our QR Code to enquire

about our Discovery Open

Morning on 9th March 2024

01732 453 039




An Independent, Catholic nursery

and primary school for boys and girls

of all faiths and none, aged 2-11.

Nestled in beautiful Wadhurst on

the borders of Tunbridge Wells.

Exceptional pastoral care and

individual academic achievement.

Outstanding Little Hearts Nursery.

Small classes and wrap around care.

Scholarship and 11+ success.

ISI Rated ‘Excellent’ in all areas.



Contact us to book your place on a tour

01892 783414 admin@sacredheartwadhurst.org.uk

Scan our QR Code





Ashford Prep School

where every child plays their part

Book a tour with us

www.ashfordschool.co.uk | admissions@ashfordschool.co.uk | 01233 620493

The Priceless Education Supplement sponsored by



Kat Portman-Smith, Tonbridge School’s Director of Community

Engagement, takes a look at some of the initiatives and partnerships

that form part of their students’ all-round education

Tonbridge School

“Working with

the charity


boys [are]

learning more

about the global

refugee crisis”

istockphoto.com/ o-che

At Tonbridge we ensure our

students are connected to the

wider world: an important part

of the education we provide is for boys

to develop a strong sense of belonging to,

and serving, their communities.

Our aim is that boys leave us as wellrounded

individuals who are grounded,

socially aware and compassionate, and

who will make a positive contribution

in many walks of life. Our many

partnerships with schools and community

groups are key to this. We have strong

partnerships with ten local primary

schools as well as secondary schools, SEN

schools and charitable organisations.

A long-standing partnership is with The

Marsh Academy. We share facilities for

academic sessions, as well as combining

for study and revision days, sports

coaching and the annual ‘Marshterchef’

cookery competition. We also help advise

with Marsh’s Oxbridge applications – this

year its first place at Cambridge, for a

student to read Classics, was confirmed.

Our Tonbridge Community Action

programme sees more than 120 boys

volunteering each week, assisting with

primary school mentoring and afterschool

clubs covering languages, art

and sport. Boys also help out at SEN

schools, supporting autistic children with

swimming and football.

For more than five years we have run

a scheme for KCC’s Unaccompanied

Asylum-Seeking Children, who play

football and cricket with Tonbridge

boys, sharing conversational English

and learning about respective cultures.

Working with the charity RefugEase, boys

have sorted donated goods and staged

fundraisers, while learning more about the

global refugee crisis.

The highlight of the primary schools

partnerships is our annual Giving Day,

when hundreds of visiting children

enjoying a huge variety of different

sporting, artistic and academic activities

here. Meanwhile our Second and Third

Years spend the day at primary schools –

this year creating gardens, running sports

festivals and helping to create costumes

and sets for school productions. Others

headed to Haysden Country Park to

tackle bank erosion.

Our Science for Schools programme sees

local children visiting our laboratories over

a three-week period: our students organise

and supervise hands-on, fun activities,

presenting pupils with new, exciting ways

of learning. These sessions also help our

boys to gain leadership skills.

You can find out

more in the Community

section of our website.



sponsors The Priceless Education Supplement

How to


Reed’s School is a leading independent school in Cobham,

which continues to evolve its approach to teaching, particularly

the essential skills needed to learn, retain, and apply

information independently. We asked them how it’s done

istockphoto.com/ istrejman, olnik_y & Bohdan Bevz

Build a realistic timetable

Include free time and other commitments –

use Hermann Ebbinghaus’ spaced revision

curve to revisit notes from

previous sessions.

Manage your

time efficiently

Use timer apps and

look up the Pomodoro

technique which helps

gauge how efficient

revision methods are.

Try out different

techniques to see what

works for you

Literary technique mnemonics; mind palaces;

the Feynman technique; mind mapping;

flashcards (brainscape and quizlet apps);

colours (post it notes, highlighter pens).

Remember the key is to move information

from your short-term memory to your longterm

memory to make it easier to access in

the stress of an exam situation.

Prepare your

body and mind

Start the day with a

nutritious breakfast (try to

include foods that improve

brain function); stay hydrated;

ensure night routines are

healthy (no blue light exposure

60 minutes before bedtime

etc); factor in exercise during

the day to help improve

memory and

cognitive performance.

Beat the urge to procrastinate

Focus, set realistic time frames and

then get on with it!

Space to learn

The school library has been reimagined

to enhance 21st century learning

Reed’s School knows that developing good

study skills allows pupils to improve their

academic performance, manage their time

more efficiently, and reduce anxiety levels.

These skills are also transferable to life after

school, at work, and in achieving personal

goals, making them significant attributes

to acquire for lifelong success. The Head of

Library at Reed’s, Cathy Horton, refined

these essential skills in her prior role in the

Academic Support department. She also

has repurposed the Library into an area that

teaches pupils how to learn by bringing it

into the 21st century with spaces to work

collaboratively and independently and a host

of digital resources alongside the traditional

printed ones.

Pupils have a range of learning approaches

to use, signposted in a programme called

‘Revision Hacks’, producing a set of cards

that are clear, concise, colourful and easy

to use. They’re available in printed format

as well as via an app, which all pupils have

on their iPads. Pupils also have a dedicated

lesson each week, Study Skills, to fully

immerse themselves in finding out which of

the different 25 skills work for them.

An exhibition space at the back of the

Library reinforces these skills and makes

them relatable for pupils. reeds.surrey.sch.uk

priceless-magazines.com 100


Excellence is everywhere

at St Faith’s Prep School &

Nursery in the heart of

the Kent countryside.

Find out more!





www.stfaithsprep.com | 01304 813409 | @stfaithsprep

A Great Place to Grow



Spring Grove School,

Harville Road, Wye,

Kent, TN25 5EZ

01233 812337


Saturday 9 March

9.30am - 12pm

Register online at



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Zip front leather biker jacket

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Spicy roast squash soup

with coconut milk

This is the perfect hearty warming

soup recipe for a chilly day. The

only effort involved is chopping

the squash (and even that you can

buy ready sliced). A lovely vegan

option if you use veggie stock and

coconut yoghurt to garnish.

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1 squash, peeled and chopped into

chunks (or 2 bags of ready chopped)

• 1 red onion, cut into wedges

• 2 cloves of garlic – whole, in its skin

• 1tsp each of fennel seeds,

chilli flakes (less if you like it

milder) and coriander seeds

• 1 tin of coconut milk (I used light)

• 2 generous tsps of ginger (use fresh,

or I use jarred minced ginger)

• cream/coconut cream, toasted

almonds, roasted tomatoes,

chilli flakes and micro greens

to serve (optional)

1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Pour

the olive oil in a large roasting pan.

2. Add the squash, onion, seeds

and chilli. Season well and give it

priceless-magazines.com 106

Much Appreciated

Show your love for friends, family and special someones with Charlotte Butterworth’s

deliciously simple and nutritious dishes Photographs: David Merewether

all a good mix. Add the garlic.

3. Roast for approx. 40 mins until

the squash is tender and starting

to caramelise around the edge.

4. Remove from the oven and put in a

saucepan. Chop the end off the garlic

and squeeze out the creamy middle.

5. Add the coconut milk and ginger,

warm through, blitz. I added some extra

stock to get the desired consistency.

6. Serve with a swirl of yoghurt, cream

or coconut cream – I used micro

coriander, tomatoes, crushed chilies

and flaked almonds to garnish, too.

Puy lentil warm salad

with leek, pancetta,

halloumi & microgreens

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

Hands on time 10-15mins

This is the most delicious, nutritious,

protein rich and filling meal, plus it’s

ready in minutes thanks to the precooked

puy lentil pouches. A warm

salad that you will make again and

again. The addition of the Autumn

Mix (peashoots, sunflower shoots and

red cabbage) take this dish to the next

level. They taste fantastic, look so pretty

and boost the nutrition even more.

Sunflower sprouts: istockphoto.com/ PeterHermesFurian

• 1 leek, half and sliced thinly

• 1 pack of lardons or pancetta

cubes (50g approx)

• ½ tsp fresh or dried thyme

• 2 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

• 1 pack of ready cooked puy lentils

(I use Merchant Gourmet)

• ½-1 pack of Ro-Gro Autumn

Mix (or other leaves)

• ½ pack of halloumi, cubed

and tossed in a little olive

oil and dried herbs

• olive oil or vingerette/balsamic glaze

• squeeze of lemon

1. In a large frying pan, warm some

olive oil and throw in the leeks. Soften

for a minute or two, then add the

pancetta/bacon, thyme and a good

grind of black pepper. Cook until soft,

taking care not to burn the leeks.

2. Meanwhile, air/pan fry the halloumi

cubes until crispy. Microwave the

lentils and add to the pan along

with the Microgreens (reserving

some of the smaller greens). Stir

through. Add a drizzle of olive oil.

Top with the halloumi and drizzle

with some balsamic glaze.

3. Scatter over some of the microgreens

for garnish and flavour.





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Glass of Chapel Down Sparkling & 2 Canapes


Platter of Oysters ( Add £12 per 6)

Champagne Cured Gravlax

Fois Gras Terrine with Fig

Jam & Brioche Toasts

Heritage Beetroot Blow Torch

Cucumber filled with Goats Curd


Citron Kissed Cheesecake

Cointreau Syllabub


Cheese Board with Figs & Nuts

( add £4 per head)


Chicken Breast, Ballotine

with Tenderstem Broccoli

& Celeriac Remoulade

Poached Salmon with Hollandaise

Sauce, Buttery Herbed Potatoes

& Tenderstem Broccoli

Lamp Rump with Redcurrant

Jus served with Fondant

Potato & Wilted Kale

Fillet Steak with Parmentier

Potatoes & Sauteed Wild

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Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil &

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reservations 01580 231103

book online at


Looking for

healthy &


recipe ideas

to spice

up your



Visit priceless-magazines.com for inspiration



Cod Puttanesca

Serves 2

A beautiful dish, that tastes of holidays and is intensely

warming at the same time. Make the punchy sauce ahead,

and just add the fish when you are ready to cook. The use of

butter beans is a great way to make it a healthy one pan dish

and I love using Bold Bean Butter Beans which are incredible.

• 1 banana shallot, finely diced (or

use the ready frozen ones)

• 1 large carrot, finely diced

• 2 fat cloves of finely chopped or crushed garlic

• 1 small tin of anchovies, finely chopped

• chilli flakes (optional)

• 1 tin of cherry tomatoes

• 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (or use dried)

• 10-15 pitted black olives, chopped roughly

• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

• ½ a jar of drained Bold Bean Butter Beans

or 1 tin of butter beans (you can use another

soft tinned bean, such as cannellini)

• fresh or frozen chopped parsley

• 2 x approx 200g cod fillets (skinned) – you

can get your fishmonger to do this

• lemon wedges, to serve


on Microgreens:

“I love using Microgreens

to boost the flavour and

nutrition of my recipes. Plus

of course, they look absolutely

stunning. I use Ro-Gro greens,

sustainably grown in Kent,

and available in farmshops.

See ro-gro.uk for


1. Fry the onion in some

olive oil until soft, add

the diced carrot and garlic,

and allow to cook down for

a few minutes. Then throw

in the chopped anchovies and

chilli flakes. Stir, then pop in the

cherry tomatoes, butter beans, black

olives, rosemary, parsley and season.

Allow the sauce to simmer for about 10

mins. Taste, and season more if needed.

2. When ready to cook the fish, put the sauce

in an oven proof dish. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Pop the fish in the sauce and cook for about

20 mins (will depend on the size of your cod

fillets). Serve with lemon wedges, and I have also

included a salad of Ro-Gro Microgeens.








Enjoy seasonal produce,

from local producers,

served alongside our wines

that have inspired each



A unique experience to be

enjoyed whilst in a stunning

setting looking over our

vines - with superb Sunday

Roasts also available.



Our menu, a collaboration

between our head chef Dan

Austin and Head Winemaker

Fergus Elias, features

recipes specifically

designed to pair with

Balfour’s award-winning


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Discover the new restaurant

at Balfour Winery

Five Oak Ln, Staplehurst,

Tonbridge TN12 0HT

01622 832794

Chocolate & rum

mousse with lemon &

rose shortbread hearts

This is a very rich, creamy chocolate

mousse and utterly delicious, but you

only need a small portion. I have served

in tiny vintage coffee cups that belonged

to my grandmother, alongside a crisp

shortbread. She always used to make us

the most perfect shortbread when we

arrived to visit. I love the addition of the

rose and lemon, but they are delightfully

simply with vanilla too. These can all

be made the day before if you wish.

For the mousse:

Makes 6 mini cups (but can

be doubled easily)

• 150g dark chocolate (at least

70% cocoa), plus a little to

grate over for decoration

• 2 large eggs separated – caution,

this recipe does contain raw eggs

• 30g caster sugar

• 1 tbsp of rum (do omit, or

Grand Marnier works well)

• 250ml approx. of fresh cream

1. Melt the chocolate over a pan

of barely simmering water.

2. Beat the eggs whites until

stiff, then add the sugar a

tablespoon at a time.

3. When the chocolate has melted

and cooled slightly, beat in the egg

yolks. Then stir this mix into the egg

whites, carefully. It will feel very stiff.

4. Add the cream, a bit at a time, to

create a smooth mix – approx 250ml,

it may be more, and stir in the rum.

5. Put into your desired serving dish.

Whip the remaining cream and top it.

Grate over a little chocolate if you wish.

6. Chill until ready to serve.

For the rose & lemon shortbread hearts:

These little hearts are so delicate, light

and crisp. The hint of rose and lemon

makes them a little bit different. I use a

third semolina flour for extra crispness,

but you could use just plain or rice

flour. When I roll my dough mix it does

seem to crack, but I just squidge back

together. And if you don’t have a heart

cutter, any shape will still taste delicious.

• 100g unsalted butter, at

room temperature

• 50g caster sugar

• 1 lemon, zest

• 2 tsp rose water (it can vary in

intensity, so add just a little at a time)

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 100g plain flour

• 50g semolina

• caster sugar, to decorate

1. Using an electric mixer, beat together

the butter, sugar, lemon zest, rose water

and vanilla in a large bowl for about

5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

2. Scrape the bowl down and add the

flour and semolina and a pinch of salt,

mixing together briefly until it starts

to come together as a dough. Bring

together into a ball using your hands.

3. Put the dough on a flour board. Flour

the rolling pin, flatten the dough with

your hands, then roll out to 1-2cm thick.

4. Line a baking tray with non-stick

parchment. Using a heart cutter, cut out

the shortbread and put on the baking

sheet. Re-roll any dough left over and

cut some more hearts. If you can, chill

for about 30 minutes before cutting.

5. Preheat the oven to 170˚C, gas mark

3. Cook in the oven for about 10 mins

until golden at the edges. If you want,

take out at 8 minutes, sprinkle with some

caster sugar and put back in the oven.

6. Put on a cooling rack, and allow to

crisp before storing in an airtight tin.

Charlotte is a caterer in Kent and

is available for lunches, dinners,

parties and buffets. She also

teaches cookery workshops

and private lessons. For

more information, email


or follow her on

Instagram & Facebook


istockphoto.com/ Leegudim




imply Red

Fairley explains how going for bold can be the key to lipcolour success

Maybe you’re scared of red lipstick. Maybe you’re devoted to it: the makeup

‘go to’ friends know you for. But as make-up statements go there is

nothing more classic – and nothing that oozes confidence – like rocking

a red lip. For some women, it becomes a signature, like their personal handwriting.

Others find it as terrifying as the Daleks, because unlike the judicious, understated

application of nudes and neutrals, red lipstick requires not just courage – but skill.

Personally, I am increasingly a fan. I find that wearing a red lipstick allows me

to dial down the rest of my make-up (in fact, a strong red lip with bold eyes and

blusher is terribly Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington), saving time and effort. And I

think red lipstick looks fantastic on older faces, actually, counterbalancing the natural

fading of features that tends to happen with time, and which is ageing in itself.

So, I’m delighted that red lipstick has been ‘having a moment’, lately – new

formulations and products, fab shades (and something for everyone). Which seems

like the perfect excuse to share everything I ever learned about red lips, from the

pros, about how a pop of scarlet, crimson or cherry can enhance your looks...

Figure out if you’re a ‘warm’ red or a ‘cool’ red. Rule of thumb: orange-reds, or those

heading towards coral, are kinder to olive complexions or anyone who tans easily. Paler

skins (i.e. cooler complexions), as well as black skins, are generally better with blue-toned

or pinky-reds. If you’re uncertain whether you’re warm or cool, you’ve two options:

visit a make-up counter (where consultants can usually tell at a glance), or do the

peach/rose test (um, you’ll need a peach and a mid-pink rose, to do this).

There’s a brilliant guide to determining ‘your’ red on the website of Loose Women

make-up artist Donna May (donnamaylondon.com), whose new red lip pencils I rave

about below. Previously, I’ve always shared this (still-excellent) advice from dynamo

Sharon Dowsett (at ‘Chanel Beauty School’): “Look into the mirror – then

hold up some fruit. If you’re a ‘warm’, you’ll look better with that peach next

to your cheek. If you’re a ‘cool’, the pink rose will ‘lift’ your face.” (Unless

you’re one of those rare and fortunate creatures – which, it turns out, I

happen to be – for whom both ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours are equally

complexion-perkifying.) Once you know your warms from your cools,

as Sharon demonstrated to me vividly in person, it’s easy to take a

short-cut to the right red… (N.B.: Do beware of orange-red lipsticks

if your teeth are stained, as orange emphasises the discolouration…)

Try reds on for size before you buy. Although there is nothing

quite like putting a red lipstick onto your very own pout to

see how well it will flatter you, in reality you’ll only be able to

try on a couple of shades before the pigments in the lipsticks

‘tint’ your own lips. After that, even when you remove one

of the lipsticks and start again, the colour you see in the

mirror is no longer ‘true’. So, how can you eliminate shades

that aren’t going to work, before you waste your money?

Two tips. “The skin on the body that is closest to the natural

shade of your lips is on the pads of your fingers,” explains my

make-up genius friend Mary Greenwell. “So, try lipsticks out



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on those finger-pads, to get a good idea of

sheerness/matteness and texture.” (Do give

hands a good wipe with antibacterial cleansing

wipes first, or a spritz of hand sanitiser.)

Alternatively, try this brilliant trick from

Gillian Dempsey: “Before you try lipstick on

your lips, use it to draw a life-size, upside-down

pair of lips on the back of your hand, with

the cupid’s bow nearest the thumb. Stand two

foot back from a mirror and hold your hand

up to your face – and you can tell, instantly,

whether the colour ‘lifts’ your face or makes it

look drab. If it looks flattering then go ahead

and try it on your lips.” (You might need to

squint a bit, but it really does give a great clue.)

Adjust your eye to a new shade. Switching to

a new red lipstick can give you something akin

to a visual shock, if you’re unused to it. So, on

the first day, add a layer of your new shade over

your existing shade, using a lip brush to blend.

On the second day, add two layers of your new

shade, again, blending carefully. On the third

day, discontinue your original shade – and your

eye should have adjusted perfectly to the new

look. This really does work! Alternatively, my

trick with a new red lipstick is to mix it with

a little gloss or balm to sheer the texture out

and create a stain. (I do this ALL the time.)

Some of my favourite red lip tips, meanwhile,

come from Poppy King – a.k.a. The Lipstick

Queen – who first launched a signature red

lipstick range in Australia when she was 18.

1. When wearing red lipstick,

minimize your eye make up so that

the red lips are the statement.

2. To remove flaky, dry skin on the lips

exfoliate the lips with a spare toothbrush

by gently massaging over lips.

3. If you are worried about lipstick bleeding

apply some under eye concealer around the

edge of the lips before applying the lipstick.

4. To stop lipstick getting on your teeth,

pucker lips and pull your index finger

through. The excess lipstick that gets on

your teeth will come off on your finger.

5. Dab some of the same colour lipstick

on your cheeks after doing your lips: it

really brings the whole look together.

And – ta-dah! – here are my favourite new

reds… There’ve been some fantastic red

lipstick innovations lately, and I’m rotating

these (actually, having to give the handbag a

regular edit or I find I’m carting five around!)

Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lip Colour, £27.

Make-up artist Lisa’s True Velvet lipstick range

has a range of highly pigmented warm and cool

reds, always stunning, always with this comfymatte

feel. This is as glam as make-up ever gets.

Kjaer Weis Lipstick (Adore), £40 (refills

£28). Kjaer Weis – one of the most luxe

natural brands on the planet – offers refills

for this sleek silver lipstick case. So, when

deep, cherry red Adore has swiped its last,

you could switch to KW Red, a timeless

‘pillarbox shade’. (Or one of the four more

neutral tones, if I still haven’t converted you.)

Donna May London Lip Pencils, £15.

These pencils make red lipstick just so, so

easy. It’s as easy as drawing with a crayon,

either creating an outline with the tip, or just

smooshing it into lip-balmed lips for a more

sheer look. (As I mention above, she steers

you to your perfect shade via a very clever

chart which you can find on her website.)

Dolce & Gabbana Devotion Liquid Lipstick,

£38. For something so very long-lasting and

transfer-proof, this is incredibly comfortable.

With a silky-matte finish that honestly lasts

through meals, never mind Martinis, it

goes on like a mousse and hydrates, sitting

weightlessly on lips till removed. I’ve been

rocking the deep crimson 400 Orgoglio.

Guerlain Rouge G Luxurious Velvet Lipstick.

These are ‘two-part’ lipsticks; Guerlain have

created THE most glamorous refillable lipstick

cases, in a huge range of designs (priced £21-

32, though they also bring out special editions).

These positively beg to be brought out at the

dinner table so you can reapply your lipstick.

510 Rouge Red is a stunning matte, but other

satiny and even balm-like textures are available,

for you to switch easily in and out of that

so-gorgeous case; the lipstick refill is priced £32.

So, if you’ve never tried a red lipstick and seen

what it can do for your look, how it can brighten

your face – or day…? My advice is to give it

a go. It’s not a tattoo. It’s not hang-gliding or

S&M or tightrope-walking: it’s only make-up –

and at the end of the day (or immediately, come

to that), you can wash it off and go back to your

tame nudes. Then at worst you can hold your

head up proudly and say that you’ve tried it.

And at best? Maybe your new red lipstick

will be the start of a whole new you…

Visit beautybible.com for more of Jo’s

product reviews and beauty tips.



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Health Coach

I'm Nicola, a BANT Registered

Nutritionist, Functional

Medicine certified Health

Coach and Pharmacist

How much better would you feel if you

could at least make a start on getting

some of your symptoms under control?

No matter what stage of menopause

you are in or when you experience it,

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Take your


Sarah Maxwell explores

Pick‘n’Mix fitness


If you struggle to maintain a regular

exercise routine, feel bored with

your current fitness schedule, or

have a hard time fitting exercise, healthy

eating, stress reduction and proper

hydration into your busy life, then you

should consider trying the Pick‘n’Mix

method. This approach may interest

you, especially if you remember the

fun sweetie experience at Woolworths!

The Pick‘n’Mix method is a flexible

and customisable way to incorporate

exercise and other essentials into your

daily routine, regardless of age or fitness

level. You can choose from various

activities and tailor your routine based

on your preferences and schedule.

Pick‘n’Mix includes activities you

can select based on your fitness level

and interests. Whether it’s a quick

workout at home, meditating, a

walk during lunch break or a yoga

session in the evening – you can

choose what works best for you. It’s

perfect if you’re feeling tired of your

current fitness routine and want to

try something new, and is a great way

to shake things up for a few weeks

and return more potent than ever.

Reducing stress is an essential part

of the method – you can choose from

relaxation techniques like meditation

and deep breathing exercises. A

focus on self-care is another reason

this method is so successful. Eating

well, staying hydrated, and making

time for rest and creativity can all

be easily incorporated into your

routine with some planning.

Pick‘n’Mix 1

Choose one. Aim to do 2 of these

sessions a week (not on successive days)

20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Each round will take 90 seconds (approx)

Warm up by moving your

body thoroughly before starting

and stretch to finish.


• Star jumps 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

• Squats 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

• Sprint on the spot or march 20

seconds, rest 10 seconds

Minimum of 2 rounds, maximum of 10.


• Press ups (half or full) 20

seconds, rest 10 seconds

• Alternate lunges 20 seconds,

rest 10 seconds

• Standing elbows to knees 20

seconds, rest 10 seconds

Minimum of 2 rounds, maximum of 10.

Pick‘n’Mix 2

Choose 1 to do every day

2 minutes short meditation

2 minutes moving/dancing

(relaxing music optional)

2 minutes body scan exercise

2 minutes deep breathing

Pick‘n’Mix 3

Aim for 1-2 times per week, but, if it

works well for you, try as many as you like

Warm-up and incorporate deep

breathing exercises. Stretch when

you’ve finished. Choose at least 1 of

the activities. Add in any other activity

you enjoy, or want to try. Minimum of

10 minutes, maximum 60 minutes.

• Walk

• Run

• Cycle

• Swim

• Cardiovascular exercise in the gym

• Up and down stairs, inside or outside

Pick‘n’Mix 4

Choose a minimum of 3 per week

• 2 extra glasses of water per day

• Try out a new healthy recipe

• Stand on 1 leg for 1 minute each leg

• 2 minutes of pelvic floor exercises

• Read a chapter of a book

or listen to a story

• Switch off the news/no

newspapers for the week

• Switch off your phone for 1 hour per day

• 5 minutes writing about your day

• A lovely long bath

Top Tip: If you put your choices

and schedule into your diary or

planner, you will find it much

easier to get into a good routine.

I love hearing from you and finding out

what’s working for you (or not!). Feel free

to email me at sarahmaxwell@mail.com

Sarah Maxwell is a multi-award

winning Lifestyle Wellbeing and

Fitness coach. You can find her at

sarahmaxwell.com. Get in touch via

email at sarahmaxwell@mail.com

and on social @sarahmaxlife








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istockphoto.com, miwa_in_oz , Magone, chokja, Elena Tsvetkova, Drazen Zigic, Agustin Vai / PippiLongstocking

Nourish to Flourish

Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach Charlotte Lau

explores the benefits of incorporating

another healthy ingredient into our

diets. This month it’s kale

Loaded with important micronutrients and

antioxidants, kale is one of the most nutritious

leafy greens available. It is abundant and

flavoursome in the winter months, with a nutty taste,

earthy flavour and it works well in a wide range of

recipes. Add it to soups and salads, your energising

morning smoothie or (my favourite) drizzle with olive

oil, crisp it in the oven and enjoy it as a crunchy snack.

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and like other dark

green, leafy vegetables, it is high in antioxidants, which

help to counteract oxidative damage. Kale also contains

four times the vitamin C content and twice the selenium

content of spinach, as well as nutrients like Vitamin E and

beta-carotene, which are all important for supporting a

healthy immune system, especially at this time of year.

Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin K

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and increasing energy levels. Find out more at plumenutrition.com

which is important for blood clotting. A single raw cup

contains almost 70% of the recommended daily amount.

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1 leek, diced

• 200g kale, shredded

• 2 celery sticks, diced

• 2 carrots, diced

Immune supporting kale soup

Boost your daily vegetable and vitamin intake with

this warming soup that’s perfect for winter Serves 4

• 2 litres of vegetable stock

• 1 x 400g tin of cannelloni

beans (or mixed beans)

• 1 tsp of dried oregano

• salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions

and leek and stir for 5 minutes, until soft.

2. Add the carrots, celery, beans, kale and oregano and stir.

3. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover,

simmering over a gentle heat for 45 minutes.

4. Serve as it is for a chunkier soup, of blitz

in a blender if you prefer it smooth.



Retiring Naturally

Jo Arnell speaks to Pegasus Homes CEO Steve Bangs and floral designer Jonathan

Moseley about the wellness benefits of interacting with plants, especially as we age

As we age, our need to connect

with nature and with plants

remains a key factor in

maintaining our wellbeing. The

health benefits of getting outside are

well known; experiencing the natural

world, exercise and fresh air are

important for us all, but many positive

effects are also experienced when we

interact with plants indoors too.

In many later living communities

there are accessible outdoor spaces,

the best of them even have allotments

or gardens where residents can grow

plants and vegetables, and interact with

nature in a practical and rewarding

way. A hands-on experience of

nurturing and looking after plants,

from growing crops outside to caring

for a houseplant or arranging a vase

of flowers, provides people with an

opportunity to be surrounded by

greenery, to actively connect with living

plants and gain those all important

health and social benefits too.

This is exactly the approach taken by

Pegasus Homes, whose latest retirement

development, Highfields in West

Byfleet ensured that the landscaping

reflected the needs of the residents

– they were ‘designed to promote a

tranquil environment to relax and

socialise in’ – along with providing

allotments for community gardening

and vegetable growing. Featuring two

south facing gardens, the beautiful

landscaping creates a meaningful space

to overlook and enjoy spending time in.

Steve Bangs, CEO at Pegasus,

comments on how Pegasus prioritises

wellness in its communities:

“At Pegasus, we believe a healthy life is

a happy one and the homes we create

reflect this. We recognise that many of

our downsizing customers are trying

something new after many years rooted

to a longstanding family home, and

the incorporation of wellness facilities

such as saunas, gyms and hydrotherapy

pools holds a lot of appeal.

priceless-magazines.com 120


“At Highfields we’ve

[landscaped] to promote

a tranquil environment

to relax and socialise

in, along with

providing allotments

for community

gardening. For our

Pegasus communities,

homeowners are


downsizing and this

also means reducing

access to outdoor

space as well. Having

allotments will mean

that those with greenfingers

don’t have

to say goodbye to a

healthy hobby”


“However, increasingly we’re finding

this isn’t the wellness our homeowners

have in mind. We’ve responded to this

by adapting what our communities

look like, focusing on creating social

connection, enabling more interactions

with nature, and empowering

an overall healthier lifestyle.

“At one of our newest Pegasus

developments, Highfields West

Byfleet, we’ve recognised this by

landscaping to promote a tranquil

environment to relax and socialise

in, along with providing allotments

for community gardening. For our

Pegasus communities, homeowners are

predominantly downsizing and this

also means reducing access to outdoor

space as well. Having allotments will

mean that those with green-fingers don’t

have to say goodbye to a healthy hobby,

whilst fostering great community spirit

amongst homeowners and renters in a

shared space.”

‘Wellness is an active process of

becoming aware of and making choices

toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

Wellness is more than being free from

illness, it is a dynamic process of change

and growth.’ This statement from the

World Health Organisation is endorsed

by Pegasus, whose ethos is centred

on wellness in retirement, in short

“to improve the options for people

hoping to downsize and simplify their

lives. We wanted to create places that

allow people to get the best out of

a time of life when we can pursue

our passions, live in comfort, and

take better care of ourselves.”

Outdoor gardening

Mobility and flexibility may become

reduced in later years, but you can still

garden outside. Being actively involved

in an outdoor project is energising and

brings a sense of accomplishment, and

of anticipation – looking forward to and

planning for the future – what plants to

grow, crops to harvest. If this is done in

a community setting, the social benefits

can markedly increase quality of life.

Raised beds are a good option,

constructed to the height that

best suits. Try lightweight

containers, or those on castors.

Trellises and vertical supports will

allow for plants to climb upwards to

enable easy access. Make sure that

there is a bench nearby, or chairs

for a rest in between tasks, or for

sitting and admiring achievements.

There are lots of ingenious tools

available and are ergonomic, which

means they are designed for both

efficiency and comfort. Some

have been made for people with

arthritis and mobility issues.

Automatic watering systems make

the arduous and often heavy work of

watering redundant, providing they are

set up correctly and can be adjusted

to suit the prevailing weather. Because

the nozzles are pointed directly at the

parts of the plants that need it, they

can potentially be water-saving too.

Indoor gardening

Imagine a life where you might be,

through immobility or illness, trapped

inside for most of the day, unable to

step outside for a breath of fresh air, to

go for a walk, or do some gardening.

Feelings of isolation and depression can

result, but health and wellbeing benefits

can still be gained from interacting

with nature in an indoor situation.

Activities like tending to houseplants,



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“For me spring

flowers are

arguably my

favourite blooms

to work with and

the fact that many

are UK grown

and relatively

inexpensive makes

them attainable for

everyone to enjoy.”

Jonathan Moseley,

floral designer

propagation and flower arranging are

all beneficial, raising self-esteem and

promoting a feeling of achievement.

Pegasus Homes connects with

external providers, like Jonathan

Moseley, a well known floral designer,

who has hosted events at Highfields.

Jonathan shares his thoughts on the

benefits that flowers and nature can

bring to our wellbeing in later life,

and offers some top tips on creating

colourful displays in small areas, and

ideas for making cut flowers last longer:

“Spring flowers offer such welcome

cheer after the dark cold days of winter.

A bunch of daffodils or hyacinths can

immediately cheer up a room or offer

the most intoxicating fragrance. For

me spring flowers are arguably my

favourite blooms to work with and

the fact that many are UK grown and

relatively inexpensive makes them

attainable for everyone to enjoy.

Many Spring flowers like tulips,

narcissi, iris and hyacinths are bulb

flowers and the soft fleshy stems are

best arranged in shallow water as

opposed to deep water. Always add

flower food into the water when

arranging your flowers as the sugars and

minerals which it contains will enable

buds to fully mature into large flowers.

Flowers like tulips, which continue to

grow once they have been cut, benefit

from having extra foliage or twigs to

support the top heavy flowers. Try

mixing them with twiggy birch stems,

pussy willow or aromatic eucalyptus.

Small delicate flowers like snowdrops,

muscari, anemones or primulas look

stunning arranged into mini vintage

ceramic flower rings or ‘glass flower

frogs’ which can be easily sourced

from charity or vintage/junk shops.

Mix them with fragrant herbs like

rosemary, mint or sage to create

a wonderfully fragrant display.

Branches of early spring flowering

shrubs like forsythia, ribes (flowering

currant), cornus, witch hazel and

cherry blossom can be gathered

early before the buds begin to

open. Place the bare branches in a

vase of water in a warm room and

they can be miraculously forced

open when placed into flower

within a couple of weeks.”

Pegasus has done some research

recently with the over 55s and found

that 57% of respondents enjoy hobbies

to keep them mentally active. It is

well known that socialising plays

a huge role in mental wellbeing

too, and access to communal

spaces – both indoors and outside

– offer wonderful opportunities

to come together and enjoy a new

hobby with like-minded people.

From tending a garden to cultivating

a pot plant on a windowsill, research

by the Mental Health Foundation

highlights the critical role of nature

in supporting good mental health

and encourages people to connect

with ‘everyday’ nature close to

home to maximise the benefits

it can bring to our wellbeing,

whatever our age or ability.

To find out more about Pegasus’s new

community, Highfields, and their other

developments, visit pegasushomes.co.uk.

Jo’s gardening courses starting

in spring are now booking.

Call 07923 969634 or see




Parrotia persica

A few of my

favourite things...

Sue Whigham chooses a few firm plant favourites that have left a lasting impression


girlfriend and I spent a few

days in New York a decade

ago. It was rather like being

in a film set to be honest and if you

asked me what the highlights were,

we might be here for a while.

One day we walked across the

Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn

itself, a world of beautiful brownstone

houses and glorious street trees. We

then got on the subway and headed

towards the Brooklyn Botanic Garden,

a 52 acre oasis of calm in a bustling

city. It was autumn and the salvias were

in full swing. One particular treasure,

soaring above our heads, caught my eye

to the extent that when we got home

(having failed to find anyone to ask

right away), I wrote to the Garden to

find out which salvia it was. They didn’t

write back! So if anyone is asking, this

salvia, still unknown to me, is high on

a list of ‘a few of my favourite things’.

I’ve always loved Parrotia persica, or

Persian ironwood, and think that it

would be one of the first trees I would

plant if I was starting again. There’s

a fabulous specimen at Sissinghurst

growing by the South Cottage which

Harold Nicholson used for his writing,

no doubt inspired by the rich colours of

the Cottage Garden. Everything about

this tree – from its bark, which peels as

it matures, to its extraordinary winter

flowering petal-less flowers – is lovely.

It is in the Hamamelidaceae family

priceless-magazines.com 124

Heptacodium miconioides


istockphoto.com/Michel VIARD / Photoenthusiast82 / Alex Manders / zhuclear

and its dark red flowers are similar to

those of the Hamamelis or witch hazel,

flowering as they do from bare stems.

A particularly eye-catching form is

‘Vanessa’, which not only has great

autumn colour (red, orange and

plum purple) but glossy red shoots

and young leaves. Interestingly, P.

persica ‘Vanessa’ was named after a

genus of butterflies which includes

the Red Admiral, Vanessa atlanta, and

the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.

Heptacodium miconioides, also known

at the Seven Son Flower of Zhejiang is,

as the name implies, a Chinese shrub

which was introduced to the Hillier

Gardens and Arboretum in the early

1980s. I first saw a smallish specimen

in a private garden up above Wye

and fell for its name, its form and the

elderly gentleman whose garden we

were visiting. That was a long time

ago but I’m reminded of it every time

I see the fabulous mature specimen in

a garden in Benenden which opens for

the NGS. Each glossy leaf has three

particularly prominent veins and a habit

of curling under the branch – the whole

resembling tubes. Clusters of seven

lightly scented white flowers appear

in late summer and are particularly

appealing to butterflies and foraging

insects. In a good warm autumn the

calyces enlarge and then turn bright red.

Like the parrotia, the grey bark peels as

the shrub matures with the new bark




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Woodwardia unigemmata


underneath being a very dark crimson.

Betula utilis ‘Jim Russell’. This cultivar

comes from the Arboretum Wespelaar

in Belgium and originates from seeds

collected in China by one Jim Russell,

described as a ‘horticultural grandee’,

and one time curator of the Castle

Howard Arboretum (now known as

the Yorkshire Arboretum). His life

story is well worth reading. It was at a

later stage of his life that he started on

his world travels in earnest, collecting

both plants and seeds from China,

Japan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

This spectacular tree has a dark peeling

bark which reveals an inner layer of

burnished coppery colours combined

with red and purple tones. I think this

might have to be No.1 on the ever

growing list of a few favourite things.

To my mind there is nothing to beat a

native spindle or euonymus for both its

autumn colour and its fabulous fruits.

The fruits can be pink, red or white

but what is so stunning is that the seed

inside is covered with an orange coating

known as the aril, which contrasts so

spectacularly with the fruits. The aril

provides a feast for birds who digest

it and then spread the seeds around if

you are very lucky. And it seems that

robins guard euonymus very fiercely

once they’ve claimed it as their own,

seeing off all comers. To be honest,

any spindle could join the list but I

think that Euonymus hamiltonianus

subsp. sieboldianus ‘Coral Charm’

rates highly, with its combination of

coral pink fruits and an orange-red

seed. This shrub varies too in that its

autumn colour is a soft lemony yellow.

Every late summer I see clouds

of Japanese anemones in other

peoples’ front gardens and each year

I think how beautiful they are. This

must be the year to find a plant of

either the glorious pure white A x

hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ or perhaps

the reliable and free flowering A x

hybrida ‘September Charm’. Perfect

for both full sun and partial shade,

this particular anemone has flowers

whose outer petals are purple tinted

contrasting with the pale pink of the

inner petals. They float around on tall

wiry stems bringing movement to the

late summer border. Another cultivar

I might squeeze onto my list would be

A. hupehensis ‘Hadspen Abundance’.

And finally, I was reading about Helen

Dillon’s move from her famous garden

in Dublin back in 2016 and about the

plants she would be leaving behind and

the ones she would be taking. Of course

she had so many rich and rare plants

but I was glad to hear that she would

be taking what she calls the ‘superb

large fern’, Woodwardia unigemmata

or Jewelled Chain Fern. We bought

this gem at one of Great Dixter’s Plant

Fairs a few years ago and I have it in a

large pot outside my porch. Thankfully

it is hardy down to -10°C. Its arching

stems can reach up to seven feet in

length (but not in a pot), and when the

frond rests on the soil the single bulbil

on its tip takes root. Oh, and the new

fronds are a ‘gorgeous brick red’. So

yet another plant to add to the list…

Sue Whigham can be contacted on

07810 457948 for gardening advice

and help in the sourcing and supply

of interesting garden plants.








What’s On

this Season


More art listings on page 51

Tues 20 Feb 6.30pm-9pm

Watts Gallery




As Watts Gallery celebrates the final

week of their exhibition Victorian

Virtual Reality, join them for this

special evening event, with an

exclusive tour of the display from

Denis Pellerin and Rebecca Sharpe

from the Brian May Archive of

Stereoscopy followed by a talk on

Victorian Working Women in the

Stereoscope. This will be a relaxed

and sociable evening, experiencing

Victorian style entertainment,

viewing and handling stereoscope

images, with the opportunity to

talk to the Curators of the Brian

May Archive of Stereoscopy. A

selection of small bites, cheese,

wine and soft drinks will be

provided, with all snacks and first

drink included in the ticket price.

£26 (members’ price £23.40)



Sat 9 & Sun 10 March

Hever Castle & Gardens, Hever

Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG



Enjoy a family day out at the

historic Castle and stunning

gardens over the weekend of 9 and

10 March. Explore the historic

Castle – the childhood home of

Anne Boleyn – work up an appetite

with a wander around the stunning

150 acre grounds or let the kids

run off some energy in the Tudor

Towers adventure playground or

the Acorn Dell natural play area.

On Saturday 9 March visitors

can enjoy a carvery in the elegant

Guthrie Pavilion Restaurant

overlooking the Lake at 12.30pm.

The two course meal costs £35

per adult and £17.50 for children

up to the age of 11 (booking fees

apply). On Sunday choose from a

luxury afternoon tea in the wood

panelled Tudor Suite Dining Room

at 2pm or a two course carvery in

the Guthrie Pavilion at 12 noon or

2.30pm. The afternoon tea costs

£42.50 for adults and £21.25 for

children between the ages of 5 and

11. The carvery costs £35 per adult

and £17.50 for children up to the

age of 11 (booking fees apply).

Entry: see website


Sat 16 March

Leeds Castle, Broomfield,

Maidstone ME17 1PL


Picture an enchanting evening

surrounded by the timeless

beauty of Leeds Castle, with its

storied history and awe-inspiring

architecture. As the sun sets,

embark on a culinary journey

paired with exceptional Kentish

wines that will leave you craving

more. Book in with your special

someone for an unforgettable

Tasting Evening in the Castle, and

if you’re after even more, you can

extend your experience to include

a vineyard tour with lunch for two

ahead of your evening experience.

This event is in partnership with

the renowned Wine Tours of Kent

and the acclaimed The Curious

(formerly The Curious Eatery).

Tickets: from £699 per couple



Thu 29 Feb

G Live, London Rd,

Guildford GU1 2AA



Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club returns

to G Live with a stunning new

collection of music, narration

and projected archive images and

footage, celebrating Ronnie Scott’s

‘Soho Songbook’. Since its humble

beginnings as a basement music

bar where musicians would jam,

through to the internationally

acclaimed music venue it is today,

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has

showcased the music of some

of the world’s greatest and most

influential artists, hosting landmark

performances from the likes of

Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles

Davis, Dave Brubeck and Michael

Bublé – and not forgetting surprise

appearances by the likes of Jamie

Cullum, Stevie Wonder and Prince!

Entry: see website


Sat 2 March 7pm-10.30pm

Balfour Winery, Five Oak Lane,

Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0HT



Join Balfour for an awe-inspiring

evening concert, dinner and wine

with Joe – known globally as a

performer of wit and style who

possesses a level of musicianship

which has seen him recognised as

one of the best singer-pianists in

the world. The evening will start

with a glass of sparkling Balfour

wine on arrival, followed by a

delicious three-course set meal.

Tickets: £95




Fri 8 & Sat 9 March

Royal Albert Hall,

Kensington Gore

London, SW7 2AP





Raising funds for Royal Navy

and Royal Marines Charities, the

Mountbatten Festival of Music

returns, featuring the Massed

Bands of His Majesty’s Royal

Marines, performing over two

nights at the Royal Albert Hall

including a Saturday matinee

performance. These concerts

display the outstanding versatility

of some of the world’s finest

military musicians and are given

the ‘West End’ treatment with

spectacular lighting effects. The

Festival sees the Royal Marines

showcase their incredible

musicianship and pageantry and

features a wide range of musical

styles, including music from

the big screen and superb solo

items, as well as the traditional

marches and overtures that

have proved such a hit with

audiences over the years.

Tickets: from £25.10



Fri 1 March until 31 October

The Historic Dockyard

Chatham, Chatham,

Kent ME4 4TZ



Explore where the popular drama

is filmed on the Call the Midwife

Official Location Tour. Created in

partnership with award-winning

television production company,

Neal Street Productions, the Call

The Midwife Official Location

Tour is the only one of its kind

in the world. You will be guided

through the Historic Dockyard by

your very own costumed midwife,

armed with a photograph book

and tales of their ‘sisters’, before

being allowed to explore the

sets, costumes and props in

the all-new, exclusive gallery.

Entry: see website


Sat 2 March 6.30pm for 7pm

Brooklands Museum,

Brooklands Road,

Weybridge, KT13 0QN




Following the successful launch of

his memoir, ‘Life of a Concorde

Pilot - From the Orphanage to

The Edge of Space’, Captain John

Tye will host a welcome reception,

followed by a two course meal on

the 55th anniversary of the first

Concorde flight from Toulouse.

This will be followed by an

in depth presentation and the

opportunity to ask John questions

before the evening concludes

with a book signing session.

John has a wealth of knowledge

and amusing anecdotes to share

accumulated over his 46 year

career in aviation, 35 of which

were as a professional pilot.

Tickets: from £65



Sat 17 Feb 10am-1pm

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens,

Sissinghurst Castle, Biddenden

Road, near Cranbrook

Kent, TN17 2AB




In this hands-on workshop Isobel

Spence – who is a natural dyer,

forager and gardener – will teach

you how to dye using plant

material. You will then have

the opportunity to experiment

with natural dyeing with various

seasonal dye baths yourself and

take home your own dyed textile

piece from the workshop. During

a walk around the grounds and

garden, Isobel will introduce

you to plant material that could

be used for dyeing whilst also

explain how to forage sustainably.

Ticket holders can also enjoy

refreshments during the

workshop and access to the

garden and collection spaces

after the event has finished.

Tickets: £50



Sat 2 March 10am-1pm

Blooming Green,

Loddington Farm, Linton,

Maidstone, ME17 4AG



Learn the ever-useful skill of

willow-weaving on this beginner’s

workshop. You’ll be shown how

to choose the correct materials

and then how to make your own

wigwam plant support, ready for

your sweet peas. Discover other

materials suitable for weaving

such as dogwood and birch.

The price includes materials and

refreshments. You’ll leave with

your wigwam and a selection of

Blooming Green sweet pea plants.

Tickets: £79


Listings are correct at time of going

to press but may be subject to change.

Readers are advised to check with venues

before making arrangements. We can list

your event in the next issue of Wealden

Times for only £75+VAT. Please supply

up to 200 words that should include date,

time, venue, contact for enquiries and any

entry price to whatson@priceless-group.

com or send with payment (cheques

payable to Priceless Media Ltd.) to What’s

On, Priceless Media, Kettle Chambers,

21 Stone Street, Cranbrook, Kent TN17

3HF. Priceless Media reserves the right to

edit text to fit space allocated. Deadline

for the next issue is 9th February.











At the request of her friend

Charlie, Jane Howard

chats farm machinery

My friend Charlie, who

claims to be a regular

reader of this column, says

he feels he now knows a great deal

about calving, lambing, hedges, pannage

and pastures, but what about machines!

Hmmm, good point, Charlie! Only trouble

is I’ve no idea how most of it works or what

the many buttons, knobs, levers and diagrams are

for, so all I can offer is a flim-flam reflection on the

bits of kit that are invaluable to a small farm like this,

with very little under-the-bonnet knowledge or advice.

When we first arrived at Coopers Farm in 1999,

weekends would see us at farm sales furiously bidding

on all manner of machinery we believed was essential

for small-time farmers like ourselves.

The ancient Massey Ferguson red

tractor, the Howard (no relation as far

as I know) muck spreader, the Welger

hay baler that on a good day would

spew out about nine small bales before

giving up. And, most memorable, the

post-war bale elevator, effectively an

escalator on wheels that replaced the

pitchfork by mechanically transporting

bales from ground level up into the

hay loft. It stood about 20 feet tall but

this didn’t deter us from lashing it to a

trailer and – with my nephew holding

on tight to minimise the likelihood of it

falling off – driving back from Horam

in high spirits. Did we really do that?

What Adrian and I had failed to realise

was that all these gems were being sold off by farmers

who had seen the future and scaled up to bigger machines

more able to meet the demands of modern day farming.

We had bought museum pieces and how thrilled we were

until we realised how quaint and time-consuming they

were compared to the shiny kit of our neighbours. And

of course there were never any parts or handy engineers

to fix them when they broke, which they frequently did.

We soon realised the

smart move was to

contract out most

of the one-off jobs

such as hay making,

muck spreading

and hedge cutting

to those people with

the big shiny kit but,

of course, we still

needed a tractor.

We soon realised the smart move was to contract out

most of the one-off jobs such as hay making, muck

spreading and hedge cutting to those people with the

big shiny kit but, of course, we still needed a tractor.

The old Massey which we started

every day by inserting a screwdriver,

even in freezing snow, was replaced

by a super smart new John Deere. It’s

not the smallest – they belong on golf

courses and fruit farms where they are

required to get between the rows – but

at just 50hp (that’s horsepower if you’re

not machinery minded) it’s the minnow

of their agricultural range. Go on the

John Deere website – Charlie, you’d love

it – and read about the 9XT with its

Hydra Cushion front axle suspension,

G5 Command Centre (I think that’s

butch tractor speak for the instrument

panel) and a whopping 680hp and

you get an idea of how small ours is.

And now I realise I haven’t even talked

about all the other bits of machinery on the farm, like the

tedder, the vibrating harrow (did you know they could?),

the topper and the yard scraper. So there might at some

point in the future have to be a second instalment of

‘Reflections on machinery at Coopers Farm,’ but you’ll

be pleased to hear that’s not coming any time soon

and next month, March, we’ll be full on lambing with

plenty of tales from the sheep shed to report on.

Find out more about daily life at Coopers Farm by visiting coopersfarmstonegate.co.uk

priceless-magazines.com 130

The vehicle is not available for purchase.

Trained in Vegas.

Ready for the world.

The driverless IONIQ 5 robotaxi.





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