Windsor Castle

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Windsor Castle voted one of the nation’s favourite landmarks 

If you’re still in need of things to do in the summer holidays then how about a visit to Windsor Castle? 

The oldest and largest occupied castle in the world has just been named as one of the nation’s favourite landmarks. 

The new study by photo printing specialists CEWE has revealed the top landmarks to visit with the list being topped by Stonehenge. 

Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle has been the home of 39 monarchs. Work is currently under way to transform the experience of visiting the castle with changes being made to include a café in the original medieval Undercroft, reinstating the Inner Hall and revealing the view of the Long walk to the public for the first time.  

Well worth a visit and if you’re travelling further afield this summer then how about visiting some of the other locations in the top 20? 

The top 20 UK landmarks to visit were voted as:

  1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

  2. Buckingham Palace, London

  3. White cliffs of Dover

  4. Tower of London

  5. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

  6. Tower Bridge

  7. Lake Windermere, Cumbria

  8. The Jurassic Coast, Dorset

  9. Edinburgh Castle

  10. York Minster

  11. The Houses of Parliament

  12. Windsor Castle, Berkshire

  13. Loch Ness, Inverness-shire

  14. St Paul’s Cathedral

  15. The Needles, Isle of White

  16. London Eye

  17. Mount Snowdon, Gwynedd

  18. Lindisfarne, Northumberland

  19. Ben Nevis

  20. Bath’s Roman Baths, Somerset

Clare Moreton, digital marketing director at CEWE, said: “The Uk is spoilt for choice when it comes to beauty spots and this really comes across with our research, from the stunning York bars walls to Windsor Castle and further afield, there’s so much choice and beautiful scenery that the UK has to offer. The hard bit is choosing where to visit first.” 

Gardening: August

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Many of you will be heading off on hols this month, but with a little bit of planning the garden can still be looking good when you get back.

For those staying at home there’s still plenty to enjoy and get on with in the garden this month. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer.

– Take cuttings of tender perennials such as pelargoniums and penstemons for flowering next year

– Keep watering, feeding and deadheading (I know I say this every month, but it’s so important)

– If we have drought conditions like last year, don’t be tempted to plant anything new until temperatures drop

– To keep rambling roses flowering and under control, thin out one in three of the oldest stems, tie in new shoots and shorten sideshoots by two thirds

– If you’re going away move pots into a shady spot and have a serious dead-heading session before you go. Ask a reliable neighbour to water whilst you’re away, particularly if it’s warm and dry

– An irrigation system on a timer is also  an effective way to keep plants watered in your absence

In the kitchen garden:

• Cordon tomatoes should be ‘stopped’ when they set four trusses outdoors, or six trusses if they’re in the greenhouse – remove the tip of the main stem two leaves above the uppermost truss so that the plant focuses its energy on fruit rather than foliage

• Plant out well rooted strawberry runners in new beds

• Cut out the old canes of summer-fruiting raspberries after fruiting, and tie in new ones

• Lift onions and shallots and dry them off before storing

• Pick herbs regularly to keep the plants productive

• Plant kale and leeks to harvest over the winter

Plants adding a splash of colour to the borders this month:

o Crocosmia ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’
o Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
o Gaura lindheimeri ‘Chiffon’
o Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’
o Hydrangea aborescens ‘Annabelle’

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

If you're out and about this month with children in tow

these gardens offer something for the whole family:

• Kew Gardens, London – an exciting new children’s garden opened recently, pre-booking online essential

• RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey – fabulous gardens for the grown-ups, trail and fun activities based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar for the kids

• Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Hants – a tree house, wooden assault course and pond dipping sessions throughout the summer, not forgetting the Centenary border which should be at it’s best around now

• Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley, Oxon – gorgeous borders and fun family trails

Kidd pro quo

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Model, racing driver, TV presenter & pub landlady Jodie Kidd, 40, tells us about life, local treasures and her foodie favourites

Q. How are you enjoying being a landlady, of the Half Moon in Kirdford? “I absolutely love it. It’s rewarding but an incredibly tough industry. The local pub is a very important part of rural life. That what the main reason I bought my pub; I’ve seen too many villages lose their pub and them turn into houses. It’s such a great loss for the community.”

Q. You’re on the Big Feastival bill this year; are you excited? “I can’t wait! Combining food and music is such a great thing and what Alex [James] is doing amazing. Raymond Blanc is going to be there. He’s always been a massive inspiration, not only for his amazing cuisine but also because of Le Manoir with its gardens; I’ve based the Half Moon, on a very small scale, on this ‘plot to plate’ model.”

Q. Where else do you enjoy eating out or a drink? “There are some really beautiful pubs along the river in Putney.”

Q. When did your love of horses start? “My love of horses started from my family who have always had horses. I grew up on a stud farm in Surrey. My father was an international showjumper and polo player, my brother is a polo player and my sister is a dressage rider. So, it’s in the blood!”

Q. Have you always been a foodie? “I was never really a foodie. It only changed when I did MasterChef and I understood the beauty of food rather than just fuel. It changed my whole outlook.”

Q. What are your favourite ingredients? “Anything grown in the pub garden and used as a herb or in a dish will evoke huge happiness in me.”

Q. Are you working harder now than ever? “It’s a very tough industry with business rates, beer tax and other things like that. The margins are small. But if you’ve got the right people around you, you can do it and it’s very different from modelling and sports! I’m running a team now instead of doing things by myself; that’s been the real difference!”

Q. Is there anything you don’t eat? And couldn’t live without? “I don’t eat Brussels sprouts and I have an obsession with wine!”

Q. What do you drive? “A BMW I8 Roadster & X5.”

Q. What’s your favourite book, film, piece of music and artist? “Shantaram [by Gregory David Roberts], The Shawshank Redemption, The Pearl Fishers Duet and Picasso.”

Big Feastival:

Jodie Kidd is one of the stars at The Big Feastival in Kingham, Oxfordshire, 23rd-25th August. See below for tickets & details.

August’s recipes: Sophie’s choice

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Chef & TV star Sophie Grigson shares two recipes ahead of her food & photography courses starting next month…


(Prep: 130 mins – Prooving: 90 mins – Cooking: 25 mins – Serves: 6)


• 450g strong white bread flour
(I use a Canadian strong white)
• One sachet easy-blend /
fast-action yeast
(or 14g fresh yeast)
• One teaspoon salt
• Three or four tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil, plus
extra for preparation
• Either 150g lardons or 70g black olives, pitted and sliced
• One or two teaspoons dried thyme, or oregano, or finely chopped fresh rosemary


Make a soft bread dough. In other words, mix flour, yeast, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Add enough tepid water to make a soft slightly sticky dough (around 300ml). Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes, working in a little extra flour or water if required. The final dough should be as smooth as satin, and delightfully soft and fairly floppy. If it feels heavy or over-firm, knead in a little more water to relax it.

Roll into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn until evenly coated in oil. Cover with cling film, or a plastic bag, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. Oil a baking sheet generously. Oil the palms of your hands, then turn the dough out on to an oiled worksurface. Knead briefly for a few minutes to smooth out.

Now spread out on the work surface and cover with lardons (no need to precook) or olives, and the herbs. Fold the sides and ends over the filling, then knead again until evenly incorporated. Transfer the dough to the baking tray and spread out to form a mega leaf shape. Using a sharp cutter, make a long cut from tip to stem without cutting right through to the edges. Next make three cuts on either side, like the veins of a leaf. Lift the sides and gently pull away from the centre to open up the cuts (remember the dough will expand when cooking). Spread a little more oil over the fougasse, then cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for another half an hour or so. Remove the cling film.

Place a baking sheet in the oven, then preheat the oven to 200 C/Gas Mark 6. Place the fougasse tray directly on top of the hot tray in the oven, and then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Girasole with spinach, ricotta & pancetta

(Prep: 30 mins – Prooving: 90 mins – Cooking: 25 mins – Serves: Pleanty!)


• 500g puff pastry
• A little plain flour for rolling
• One egg yolk


• 250g fresh spinach
• One onion, chopped
• 75g pancetta lardons
• A splash of olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 90g freshly grated Parmesan
• 250g ricotta
• ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and pepper



Cook the spinach lightly, then leave to cool and drain in a colander set over a bowl. Fry the onion and pancetta in a little oil, over a moderate heat, until onion is very tender. Add the garlic and cook for a minute
or so longer. Let them cool.
Now back to the spinach. Squeeze it hard to get rid of all that water, then squeeze it a bit more. Chop finely. Mix all the filling ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Mix the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Preheat oven to 220C/200Fan/Gas 7. Now divide the pastry in two and roll each one out thinly to form a square. Using a large plate to guide you, cut out two circles. Lay one on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Take a cup, turn it upside down in the middle of the pastry. Press down gently so the edges print a neat circle in the middle of the pastry. Lift the cup off. Mound about a third of the filling in the middle of the inner circle. Use the rest to make a ring around the outer part of the pastry.

Brush the edges and the bare ring around the central mound with the egg wash. Carefully lift the second circle of pastry over on top of the first. Use your cup to gently press the pastry down around the mound. Leave it there. Seal the outer pastry layer.

Make 16 evenly spaced cuts from the rim of the cup out to the edge of the pastry. Twist each section through 90 degrees, always twisting in the same direction. Lift off the cup – it’s done its job now. Brush the pastry with the egg wash, then slide into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190C/170 Fan/ Gas 5. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Eat warm.

Homegrown heroes

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We raise a toast to the many local producers, foodies and restaurateurs across our readership patch wowing the world with their food & drink offerings

“We understand all too well that snails are not your typical everyday dish. Perhaps we should have played it safe and reared pigs, cows, or chickens..? But we never do things by halves!” So say Victoria and Penelope Stibbs of their eco-friendly snail farm Chiltern L’Escargots. Their mission began in 2017 in a three-bed terraced house in south Bucks with just a handful of snails and an idea. “We’re beaming with pride at what we’ve already achieved in just 18 months,” says Victoria. “We truly believe there’s a gap in the food market for escargots. Don’t believe us? Just ask Heston Blumenthal, whose signature dish, Snail Porridge, at his multi-Michelin starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, is considered to be one of the most exquisite dishes in the world. People nowadays don’t just want food; they want their dish to have a great back story. We whole-heartedly encourage chefs, caterers, or inquisitive individuals to come and visit, and to see how we harvest and breed 250,000 snails. If you’ve never seen a snail farm, trust us, it is worth a visit!” Visit or call 07733 421499.

The future’s orange… if inspiring young baker Kitty Tait is anything to go by. The 15-year-old Watlington foodie is an Instagram sensation after launching The Real Orange Bakery with her dad, who are spreading foodie joy baking bread, pastries and the occasional cake or two. “Our goal is to get people enjoying authentic and genuine bread,” says Kitty, “which is why our loaves contain just four ingredients; flour, water, yeast and salt.” Visit and follow @therealorangebakery

Do you love your ale local and your welcome warm? Check out KEG Craft Beer near Bourne End (SL8 5QN) which has a tasting bar and an ever-changing stock of beers to sup on. Follow @kegbythethames on Twitter for updates.

Using grapes lovingly grown on their chalky, flinty Marlow vineyard, the Harrow & Hope team are making waves, winning plaudits from wine experts. The family team offer tasting tours to sample the sparking wines produced using traditional methods and the precious fruit from these relatively young vines. Visit

Looking for inspiration? Feast your eyes on the gorgeous recipes and creations by Marlow foodie Louise Hurst. For Nordic Kitchen culinary adventures visit and follow @nordickitchenstories on Instagram.

And we also raise a toast to the community heroes behind Rebellion Beer Company, based at Bencombe Farm in Marlow Bottom, SL7 3LT.

This area is also in good spirits thanks to Chalgrove Artisan Distillery which uses juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cardamon and black peppercorns, honed in an alembic copper still, to create their OX44 Gin; visit Local “gintrepreneurs” Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick’s Collagin; visit

A passion for beer, a respect for the community and a disregard for convention… no not just the values of the team here at Round & About but the mission statement of the team behind the founders of West Berkshire Brewery. Since 1995 the team have been working hard to produce sustainable beer and their taproom and kitchen in Yattendon (RG18 0XT) is well worth a visit or brewery tour. Their newest pub, The Grapes in Oxford’s George Street, is a cosy refit of an 1820 inn serving up ales from 13 keg taps and seven cask lines. Visit and

There’s always something going on in or around the Lovibonds tasting room in Henley’s Market Place. Pioneers in the UK craft beer movement, the team have been brewing award-winning American style craft beer since 2005. Visit for more information and events.

Fellow foodies, are you looking for a different summer dining experience? Running since 2012 the Lavender Hen Supper Club in Virginia Water provides a unique experience. You can dine in the idyllic summerhouse and take your own wine (no corkage charge). For August dates onwards, visit

Woking’s Danielle Bekker is co-founder and head brewer for Good Living Brewing whose binary botanical ale has won plaudits from industry experts and is stocked by Ocado and local shops. “We set out to create a new style of beer to appeal to wine-lovers and people who think they don’t like beer,” she says. “After months of development we’ve crafted a sophisticated lighter beer which is perfect with food and a great low-alcohol cocktail mixer.” Most beers use hop cones, but binary botanical is infused with organic leaves from Sovereign and First Gold hop bines (the name for the hop plant’s stems). Binary botanical is lower in alcohol and calories than wine, and is vegan and gluten and sugar-free. To find out more, visit and follow @binarybotanical

Also flying the flag for local tipples of the highest quality, Distillers of Surrey is a Ripley-based distillery whose solstice and nautical edition gins, alongside the team’s award-winning aromatic edition, you can sample at Woking Food & Drink Festival this month. You can also try tipples from Vineyards of the Surrey Hills a new collaboration between Albury, Denbies, Greyfriars, High Clandon and Chilworth Manor. This group of picturesque vineyards produce outstanding wines including sparkling, still white, rosé and sumptuous sweet wine.

Thanks to its gorgeous terroir on the Hog’s Back in Puttenham, the Greyfriars Vineyard team produce award-winning English sparkling wines. Want to try some? The team arrange tours and tastings; visit

Drawn by a common passion for craft distilling, a group of friends came together to form Silent Pool, producing handcrafted, artisan spirits of uncompromising quality on the Albury Estate. For tours, tastings and products, visit .

If you love beer, check out Frensham Brewery’s taproom; a beer lover’s labour of love near Farnham;

Parents, do you ever wish your children, especially teenage ones, would take more of an interest in cooking? Well, if you go down to the woods today (on the Priory Farm estate in Nutfield, to be precise), you’re in for a big surprise… Surrounded by the crackle and pop of fires, teenagers and children enjoy a masterclass in outdoor cookery thanks to a partnership between The Salt Box and Surrey Art School. Throughout August & September you can book in to drop off your six-11-year-olds for a workshop to master the basic steps of fire lighting to learning how to manage your fires, at these hands-on classes guests will learn to make a collection of dishes in a relaxed and informative environment, surrounded by the crackle and pop of fires. All of the dishes covered are designed to be cooked over an open fire, but are equally as achievable as in a conventional kitchen at home. Visit

Two Hoots Cheese is a small family business based in Barkham producing award-winning handmade blue cheese,
made in the traditional way with pasteurised cow and ewe milk. Husband-and-wife team Sandy and Andy Rose have been making cheese since 2003, recently been joined by their daughter Nia. Their most popular, Barkham Blue, has won many prizes.

Reading-based Mortimer Chocolate Company produces award-winning chocolate and cocoa powders for drinks, cooking and fondues (mmmm!). There’s a café where you can indulge in their delicious products, made with the best raw ingredients, and great recipes too – visit


The King Stone Dairy team, based in Little Rollright near Chipping Norton, produce two farmhouse cheeses using milk from 30 cows. Rollright is a washed rind soft cheese, banded in spruce bark, and Evenlode is a washed rind semi-soft cheese. You can try both and meet the team at The Big Feastival later this month. Visit

Wallingford’s Brightwell Vineyard produces white, rosé, red and sparkling wines which frequently win medals in regional, national and international competitions as well as one of the first English brandies. Visit

Oxfordshire is also in good spirits thanks to Chalgrove Artisan Distillery which uses juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cardamon and black peppercorns, honed in an alembic copper still, to create their OX44 Gin; visit Local “gintrepreneurs” Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick’s Collagin; visit Toad in Oxford craft artisan spirits from their “still on the hill” in Headington.  Book in for a behind-the-scenes tour to see the grain-to-glass process. Visit

Developed to deliver a sophisticated taste “which allows the fruit to be the shining stars”, The Wiltshire Liqueur Company’s products are a joy to behold. This small, family-run Marlborough-based company concoct their stunning range right here in Wiltshire which are then enjoyed throughout the UK and as far away as Japan and the Arctic Circle. In March 2014 Theo Paphitis added his support by choosing the company for a Small Business Sunday Award. Visit to find out more!

Marshalls Bakery in Pewsey was founded in about 1870 by Charles Marshall. Charles is believed to have started out making bread for himself but it soon became popular with friends and he decided to open a bakery. Today the bakery and is run by fourth generation baker Richard Marshall along with his dad John. Producing a wide range of bread, cakes and confectionery, try local favourites such as lardy cake or healthy products such as honey and spelt bread. Pop into the bakery at 36 North Street, SN9 5EX, or visit A Wiltshire speciality worth trying, by the way, is the Marlborough Bun.

Want to unleash your creative side? Try a cookery course at Woodspeen Cookery School; offering a wide range of courses

Hobbs House Bakery was established in the 1920s and is a true family business with five generations (the sixth is rising to the challenge now!) of baking experience. When Tom and Henry Herbert aren’t at the frontline of the bakery you may see these Fabulous Baker Brothers on television or at events, including The Big Feastival later this month. These brothers have been bringing the ultimate bread and meat combinations to you since 2012. “We believe handmade bread should be available to everyone,” they say. At their bakery in Chipping Sodbury the expert team produce an exceptional range of high quality breads, pastries and confectionery. Visit to find out about courses, recipes and the Sourdough Nation!

Founded in 1902, Bibury Trout Farm is one of England’s oldest working trout farms set in this historic village (GL7 5NL). Fresh trout is available to buy from the farm all year and the team can supply whole, filleted or smoked brown or rainbow trout. The catch-your-own fishery lets beginners and children catch their fishy supper or get hooked on a new hobby. The terrace cafe is open daily serving treats for all tastes, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes available. Visit or call 01285 740215 or 01285 740212.

Set in the heart of the North Wiltshire Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty, Ramsbury Estates are bisected by the River Kennet, a classic chalk stream which rises a few miles west of Marlborough and joins the Thames at Woolhampton. The spirit distillery and brewery are well worth a visit and the pub, The Bell, won AA pub of the year in 2017. Visit

Christian Alba’s Traditional Butchers in Hungerford High Street, RG17, 0DN, is a meat-lover’s dream (trust us, we’ve tried his homemade sausages). Christian is a proud believer of supporting the English farmer as well as the highest standards in animal welfare. He sells free-range pork and lamb, beef and chickens.” The butcher’s shop is open Tuesdays to Fridays, 8am to 5pm and Saturdays, 8am to 3pm. Call the shop on 01488 680970.

Upton Smokery Shop near Burford (OX18 4LY) is a foodie Mecca. Grab a free coffee while you browse the fine selection of smoked and cured meats, game, fish, seasonal vegetables, garlic and more, or shop online;

Made by Bob bistro & deli, in the heart of Cirencester, was established in 2008 and has won plaudits from customers and the Michelin Guide for its great food and service (it also won a Bib Gourmand).

Beer fans are spoilt for choice here in the Cotswolds thanks to a wealth of refreshing local tipple producers. North Cotswold Brewery is a family-run craft brewery on the Fosseway a few miles outside Moreton in Marsh, established in 1999. For tours and more, visit For tours, tastings and hearty ales, also check out Wychwood Brewery (, Cirencester’s Corinium Ales ( and Chipping Norton’s Hook Norton

Distilling delicious blends since 2014, Cotswolds Distillery is the home of artisanal single malt whiskey, gins and liqueurs, and offers a tour to discover how these tasty local spirits are crafted. Visit

Learn about artisan bread making, nose-to-tail butchery and ferments to eat and drink by enrolling on a course at The Cookery School at Daylesford on its thoroughly idyllic 2,350-acre organic farm.

Working exclusively with local and independent producers, the team behind Lynwood & Co are great community ambassadors. They’ve won a loyal following, supplementing their original Lechlade café with two more in Fairford and Burford. Their breakfasts, by the way, are truly legendary! Visit

Cake expectations

Just as Parisians often claim they’ve never climbed the Eiffel Tower and Londoners never seem to find the time to visit the Houses of Parliament, many of us just don’t get around to visiting Blenheim Palace as often as we’d like, despite it being so close. Well, foodies, this summer is the perfect opportunity! Not only are the gardens in full bloom, Searcys has launched a stunning new afternoon menu, with all the classics and a few curve balls. Within the wonderful settings of the palace, the Orangery by Searcys is the perfect spot to enjoy treats by much-loved chocolatier William Curley (the youngest pastry chef ever to work at The Savoy Hotel) has devised the menu.

Savouries include finger sandwiches with tasty fillings like smoked salmon and Coronation chicken, as well as a courgette and ricotta tart. These are followed by light and fluffy buttermilk scones, and then a glorious selection of individual afternoon teacakes. Highlights include pistachio and raspberry financiers, chocolate Sachertorte (inspired by the original Viennese recipe), lemon and earl grey macarons and a vintage revival black forest tart. The showstopper is the cake table, a Roald Dahl fantasy with a vast array of beautifully crafted cakes like chocolate & cherry, lemon drizzle and chestnut and rum. If you really want to feel like Marie Antoinette, you can pair your afternoon tea with Laurent-Perrier’s Harmony Champagne, chosen by William to match his creations.

While you’re there, have a wander around the 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland and Formal Gardens, home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit

Summer is here:

As ever, we’re hungry for your recommendations of great places to eat and drink as well as tempting local titbits.

We’re always excited to bring you our food & drink special and celebrate the people who work in this unremitting industry… Our cover star Jodie Kidd confirms this: she’s found her previous jobs in the fast-paced modelling and sports worlds are nothing compared to being a pub landlady.. but she’s loving every minute and we applaud her!

So, does your local deserve a toast? Is there a restaurant or farm shop near you that deserves recognition? We want to help celebrate the best food & drink pioneers and grafters out there, fuelled by you.

Talking Point: Will Young

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Liz Nicholls asks local singer-songwriter Will Young, 40, about life, happiness, his new album Lexicon and upcoming tour

Q. You’re looking well! You said this new album has been stress-free –
is that why? “I think so, yes. Looking after your wellbeing is so important. I now work a four-day week and I’m working with a team I adore. Our rule is that if it doesn’t make us happy, we don’t do it! Also the music inspires me.
I think this [Lexicon] is my best album to date.”

Q. How do you like to listen to music? “In my car! I love driving down to Berkshire listening to BBC 6 Music… But I actually still own CDs!”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? “Listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album on a sunny day and looking at the artwork on the LP.”

Q. Which tour dates are you looking forward to and which days out will you enjoy close to these? “I always love the New Theatre in Oxford. Kew Gardens in London is so beautiful and fun. Gigs in Gloucestershire are always fun as it’s near my sister and is such stunning countryside.”

Q. Do you like to travel & where’s next? “I love travelling. I have been to Marrakesh twice in the last few months. My next place is Brazil or India.”

Q. Do you consider yourself healthy? “I am healthy-ish. I try to eat greens a lot and drink a lot of water. I think moderation is important but my downfall is chocolate!”

Q. What advice would you give to any budding musicians? “It’s about finding your own unique voice and style. All of us are unique and we need to give ourselves the time to explore this.”

Q. What other projects are on your horizon? “I’m writing a book called How To Be A Gay Man which I’m very excited about. I’m touring the UK in October and also playing Pub in the Park gigs.”

Q. It’s lovely to hear you joyful. How do you feel now, looking back at your low period in terms of your mental health? “I feel very proud of how hard I’ve worked over the last seven years. It’s been a huge task and I’m fortunate to have the strength of will but also the time and money. I’m aware I’m very privileged and that’s spurred me to give talks on mental health to businesses around the UK to help set up a system that can aid their employees. Depression and anxiety are partners in that they create a cloud that descends over mind and body. It creates difficulties for one’s ability to function. I always say it’s like swimming in syrup.”

Q. Do you have a favourite book, artist, film and piece of music? “Enid Blyton’s Shadow The Sheepdog, Magritte – a Belgian artist, Remains Of The Day and Barber’s Adagio For Strings.”

Q. Who would be your dream party guests, living or dead, real or fictional? “Richard and Judy, Richard & Judy and… Richard and Judy!”

Q. What would you wish for if you had a magic wand to change the world? “Peace and love.”

• Lexicon is out now. He will perform at this summer’s Pub In The Park shows and has also just announced an extensive UK tour for October 2019, tickets via

  Read more of our Star Q&A’s

July’s recipes: Thrills & grills

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We’ve teamed up with the team behind ZIGZAG to bring you the perfect recipes to rustle up on the grill this summer!


(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)


for the lamb:
• French trim lamb chops – allow three per person
• Garlic
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fresh thyme leaves
• Rosemary
• Balsamic glaze


• Marinade lamb in oil garlic and thyme for 2 hours prior to cooking
• Heat up pan in the oven,
• Roast lamb chops for 3-4 minutes on both sides,
• Serve with fresh rosemary leaves.
• Drizzle with balsamic reduction for extra sweetness

Roast asparagus

(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)


And for roast asparagus:
• Bunch of fresh British Asparagus
• Olive oil
• Lemon wedge
• Rock salt
• Black pepper
• Parmigianino Reggiano


• Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus
• Place into the oven on a baking tray or metal handled pan.
• Remove from oven when soft and golden brown,
• Serve hot with slice of lemon, rock salt, pepper and a few  shavings of parmesan.


(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)


for the aubergine:
• Two large aubergines, cut into disks around 1cm
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Tahini
• One pomegranate, cut in half and with seeds removed
• Fresh oregano


• Lay out cut aubergines face down in a pan or baking tray
• Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper• Roast until golden brown
• To serve overlap aubergine, drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.
• Garnish with oregano


(Prep: 15 mins – Cooking: 12-15 mins – Serves: 4)


And for roast fish:
• Whole seabass – around 35cm long scaled and gutted
• Potatoes, sliced 1cm think and par-boiled to soften
• Lemon
• Sunblush tomatoes,
• Fresh dill & parsley
• 2oz of fish stock


• Lay out cut aubergines face down in a pan or baking tray
• Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
• Roast until golden brown
• To serve overlap aubergine, drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.
• Garnish with oregano

Eat Food Festival

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Attention foodies! Eat Food Festival in Henley until Saturday – tune in to Radio Berkshire tonight

From behind the burners in Binfield Heath to a Kitchen in the Kenton…. Tonight, as part of the Eat Food Festival, Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman from the award-winning and outstanding Orwells Restaurant will present a Saturday Kitchen style live show, with a Q&A session as well as the cooking tips that listeners of Radio Berkshire’s Eat with Your Ears enjoy on a weekly basis.

This evening’s show will be entertaining and also epitomise the ethos behind their cooking – sustainability and seasonality and one of the meals being cooked will feature a slow-roasted tomato, as to what happens you will have to go along and watch! The two met down in Devon where they were both chefs at different restaurants.

They have run Orwells together since May 2010 and have won many awards including 4 AA Rosettes, a listing in the Michelin Guide along with three Gold Stars in the Sustainable Restaurant Association for being a champion of sustainability, as well as other local awards including recently be awarded “Restaurant of the Year” at the recent Thames Valley Hospitality Awards. They are also nicely in the twenties in the Good Food Guide and that has led to them heading to London in July to provide a pop-up restaurant for the Waitrose Academy.

When I caught up with Ryan, I asked if with this event and the pop-up restaurant whether they had considered doing pop-up restaurants at events such as Royal Ascot or Henley Royal Regatta. He replied: “We have certainly been asked to do them, and it certainly would be an interesting challenge, but at the moment we want to concentrate on Orwells.”

In concentrating on Orwells, what comes highest on Ryan and Liam’s agenda, providing food which may get them Michelin Star’s or food that appeals to people who may want to eat at the restaurant. Surprisingly perhaps neither as Ryan explains. “I have no idea what I need to do to get a Michelin star, I’ve never had one! We want to create and serve a menu that we want to feel energised to get out of bed and cook every day and fits with our ethos. To cook what we believe in.

“I know of restaurants who will serve meals with 12 months of the year, but we believe in seasonality and so we will only serve it between St George’s Day and the summer solstice – the English Season”.

In the Q&A session Monday evening, you will be able to ask about how they grow their own vegetables as well as how they cook them! Click below for more information on all events as part of the Festival

Children’s Hospice Week

Round & About

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Show you care during Children’s Hospice Week

There are 49,000 children in the UK living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and that number is growing.

Today (Monday 17th) marks the start of Children’s Hospice Week which is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospice and palliative care services across the UK.

The theme of this year’s campaign is Moments That Matter focussing on services and ways in which families create special memories and moments in their lives.

Moments That Matter can be anything from the first family swim to a more poignant time when a hospice has helped.

There are 54 children’s hospices in the UK all providing vital care and support to families at the toughest times, providing help to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of children, young people and their families.

There are various ways you can help support their work and raise money – hold a sweepstake using the Flutter Buy Sweepstake sheet or hold a fundraiser. Why not try a ‘give it up’ challenge, use the fundraising recipe card for ideas and once you’ve decided what to do, spread the word using the empty belly poster.

Hospices across our areas – Helen & Douglas House, Oxford; Alexander Devine, Maidenhead; Christopher’s, Guildford; Naomi House & Jacksplace, Winchester and Julia’s House, Devizes – are doing vital work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  Show your support by going to Together for short lives

Independent Bookshop Week

Karen Neville

All Areas

It’s Independent Bookshop Week – read all about it! 

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

To use a classic quote from a classic author (and one of my favourites)

To use a classic quote from a classic author (and one of my favourites) “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

Jane Austen’s line from Pride and Prejudice will have been encountered by millions of readers all around the world since she wrote it more than 200 years ago and never is it truer than today as Independent Bookshop Week starts today (15th).

Events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings and literary lunches are all part of the week encouraging you to support your local store.

There are so many independent bookshops across our area there really is no excuse not to visit one, many are getting fully involved in Independent Bookshop Week with a variety of events.

One of these joining in is Mostly Books in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It is hosting a variety of events from 15th to 22nd June starting with a party and author takeover. Kim Sherwood will be talking about Testament on 18th; debut author Joanna Glen will be sharing her experiences on 19th, best-selling author Ben Aaronovitch will be signing copies of the Rivers of London series on 20th and Katherine Rundell will talk to Lucy Manghan about why we should be reading more children’s books. For details of all these events visit Mostly Books

Check out your local indie and see what they’ve got going on and fall in love with reading and books.

  To find out more visit Indie Bookshop Week