Second chances

Round & About

London

For 159 years, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has rescued and rehomed lost, abandoned, neglected and unwanted pets that, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in desperate need of a second chance.

Since it was founded in 1860, Battersea has helped over three million dogs and cats to find new loving homes or be reunited with their original owners after going astray. But Battersea is not just a rescue charity. Our work stretches beyond our centres through our position as a driver for change and a champion for vulnerable animals. In the last decade alone, we have worked to bring about key changes in the law, such as increased sentences for animal cruelty, and we are recognised for our positive approach to partnership working and sector-wide collaborations.

Across our three sites – Battersea London, Brands Hatch, and Old Windsor – we help over 7,000 dogs and cats every year. Some have been given up when their owners can no longer care for them. Some have been abandoned and found wandering the streets.

Battersea’s promise to these frightened, often neglected animals is to never turn them away.

We aim to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.

In 2018, Battersea rehomed on average 6 dogs and 6 cats every day. For our staff and volunteers, there’s nothing better than seeing our animals setting off for their new life.

Our Values

Everything we do as individuals and teams, as vets and volunteers, nurses, kennel and rehoming staff, fundraisers and foster carers is underpinned by Battersea’s Values.

Care: We are passionate about the welfare of dogs and cats, and all our work is inspired by the needs of, and our love for, animals.

Excellence: We have been working tirelessly to provide shelter for animals for over 150 years. We are one of the oldest animal charities in the world and the knowledge and experience we have gained has made us credible leaders in our field.

Determination: We deal with some of the most challenging situations that impact the lives of dogs and cats. We seek to tackle problems at source by working actively with communities and wider society, challenging misconceptions and encouraging owners to take responsibility for their pets and treat animals humanely. We will not shy away from difficult issues.

Respect: We treat all animals and people with respect and dignity.

Integrity: We are trustworthy, we are indebted to our supporters and greatly value all the donations given to us, ensuring that they are carefully spent on providing the best possible future for animals.

Commitment: We strive to find every dog and cat a loving home. We put no limit on the time an animal stays with us, and we will never put an animal to sleep unless significant medical, safety, or legal reasons compel us to do so. Our staff and volunteers are hugely committed.

Our Reach

Battersea’s respected, authoritative and influential voice has a proven record in bringing about policy and legislative change to benefit animal welfare, and 2018 was no exception.

We had a wide range of successes, all aimed at improving the health and welfare of animals that cannot speak for themselves. These successes included; influencing Government to support a ban on third party sales and having various asks from our Backstreet Breeding campaign included in the regulations for breeding and sale provisions, resulting in closure of the loophole that previously allowed sales of puppies under eight weeks.

How You Can Help

Without the support of our incredible staff, volunteers and supporters, Battersea would not be able to continue all the hard work we do to help dogs and cats.

In 2018, over 1,000 volunteers and foster carers donated almost 150,000 hours to Battersea, across all three centres, assisting our staff in a huge variety of ways. As well as our ever-popular animal welfare roles, volunteers help staff with office duties, represent us at events, show visitors around our centres and help us raise vital funds. We are also supported by a team of community engagement volunteers who go into local schools to educate children about our cause and responsible pet ownership.

Our volunteers can feel good about giving back to the community and helping dogs and cats that may not have had the best start in life. They gain new and transferable skills as well as developing current ones and many will use their experiences with us to enhance their CVs or even make a full career change.

It’s also a great way to make lots of new two-legged and four-legged friends!

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

For more information, please visit

Beeline to bliss

Round & About

London

Petersham Nurseries – Richmond’s visionary garden center and lifestyle mecca – is one of West London’s greatest treasures and creative success stories.

The family behind the business are celebrating their 15th birthday, looking back on their humble beginnings as a dilapidated local plant shop, and how much has changed. Now with a second branch in Covent Garden, the small empire includes a homeware shop, florist, café, two restaurants and a wine cellar, with visitors come from near and far to discover Richmond’s unique lifestyle destination.

For September, they’re celebrating their birthday by paying homage to the gardener’s best friend, the honeybee, with a one-off masterclass in all things bee-related. In keeping with Petersham’s ethos, this will include a tasting session with Bermondsey Street Bees’ honey sommelier, a gardening session in planting bee-friendly flowers, a delicious lunch, and a ‘preserving with honey’ cookery class with Rachel de Thample.

Petersham's 15th Birthday

To sign up for this, on Thursday, 26th September

Vino veritas

Round & About

London

Jessica Elphinstone learns a thing or two about wine at Vagabond,  Fulham’s most underrated date spot

If you detest wine snobbery, and the whole glass-swirling, Merlot-gargling pomp of it all, then I’m totally with you. I spent my entire three years of university drinking £4.99 Gallo rosé, and that sweet, sickly nectar has a special place in my heart. But the wonderful thing about Vagabond is that, despite being a bouji wine bar and boasting over a hundred carefully selected bottles from indie vineyards across the globe, it is somehow also unpretentious.

First of all, the way you order the booze appeals to my inner vending-machine-loving child: Pre-load money onto a credit card, swipe into the recently revamped wine fridges, before clicking on the bottle you’d like and watching with glee as your chosen amount of wine comes pouring out. Taster sizes of 25ml are mostly around a couple of pounds, allowing people to sample a whole range of different wines you wouldn’t normally risk getting a glass of. We taste a tangy Spanish Albarino, a buttery, Meursault-style Reserva Branco from a sustainable smallholding in Alentejano (yes – I stole that from the tasting notes), and a questionable Italian Pecorino from Abruzzo.

Each wine comes with an information slip, onto which you can jot notes like ‘beeswax and tangerine’ or ‘pomegranate and watermelon’ if you so wish. My friend Chloe is a picky soul, and finds GM Henry’s pick, a Condrieu from the Northern Rhône which is one of the most expensive wines, not to her taste. We play games, bringing each other wines with tasting notes of honey, straw and water chestnuts, and try unsuccessfully to guess them. Around us, we see couples (a lot of first dates, apparently) doing the same, laughing and chatting as they pair their Tempranillo with delicious cured meats, artisan cheeses and charred Padron peppers.

Finally, we strike gold, and both fall in love with an Australian Zibibbo from winemaker Brash Higgins. “English Pears and Freesia” writes Chloe dramatically, now slightly less than sober. I imagine that this balance of light-heartedness, mixed with some actual exploration into new realms of wine, is exactly what Vagabond’s founder Stephen Finch imagined when he opened to doors to his first Fulham wine shop in 2010.

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Vagabond

Visit Vagabond Fulham, 18-22 Vanston Place, SW6 1AX
Contact on 0207 381 1717 or visit

Raising spirits!

Round & About

London

Fancy a drink? And a sing-along? Join Putney’s Pub Choir, brainchild of local pianist, vocalist and music tutor Carl Speck

A trip to your local pub, a glass of your favourite tipple and a chance to sing your heart out… what could be better? The Pub Choir is a great way to socialise with friends, enjoy a drink and learn to sing new and familiar songs in the friendly and relaxed atmosphere of a pub.

“The Pub Choir is all about having fun,” Carl tells us. “Anyone can come along, from the most experienced singers to those who usually only sing their hearts out in the shower! We always work on songs that everybody knows – that way, the choir is easily split into two and we enjoy learning some simple harmonies for extra effect.

“This is a great way for new singers to have a go at singing in a choir. There is no commitment to come every week which is a real draw for many people. The added bonus is a glass of wine or a pint of beer (or two!) throughout the evening.”

The choir gather at The Duke’s Head in Lower Richmond Road, SW15 1JN, on alternate Tuesdays of every month, 8 -9.30pm, as well as other pubs. All you have to do is turn up, buy a drink and then sing. Each session costs £5. Lyric sheets are provided and Carl will teach three or four songs throughout the evening. With his expert direction, you will also learn the basics of good singing technique, as well as have the chance to sing in two or three-part harmony.

Carl adds: “Towards the end of the evening, a live recording is taken to share with your friends, family and the rest of the world! There is absolutely no need to have any previous singing experience or know how to read music. If you have some musical ability, you can view music for each session on the member’s page a few days before each session – your musical skills will be most welcome to support the rest of the group.

Contact Carl to access the Members’ Page and, if possible, let Carl know you are going in advance, just because this will help him with organising music for everyone. Upcoming datesfor planned gatherings are 15th and 29th October, 12th and 26th November and 10th December.

Find out more

Interiors: Decorex

Liz Nicholls

London

Liz Nicholls looks forward to another Decorex International at Kensington’s Olympia London between 6th and 9th October…

Lush forest green tones, warm metal accents and a fresh, geometric take on more than 50 shades of grey….

These are just some of the home trends of note visitors can absorb at this year’s Decorex International. If you’ve never been, and love interiors, I recommend you visit – it’s like a giant, interactive Pinterest board, all abuzz with creative people and interiors ideas.

You can gain insight into the craft behind a piece of bespoke furniture or decoration as designers transform areas of the show floor into live workshops. In the Future Heritage zone, talented young names in British craft are given a platform to distill their aesthetic into a finished piece of fine craft.

Europe’s leading event for interior design professionals, Decorex has taken place in and around London every year since 1978.

One of the local creatives who exhibited last year (and provided the awesome inspo for my under-the-sea themed bathroom redseign!) is Chelsea-based contemporary fabric and home accessory designer Sarah Fortescue. Read Sarah’s blog and admire her gorgeous wares.

The leading designer and producer of Portuguese tapestry rugs in the UK, Putney-based Atlantico Rugs will return to show their new collection of elegant designs complementing current styles, trends and colours.

And Pooky, based in the kooky design quarter of Lots Road, is sure to bring a stand that will be another wonderland of colour & creative use of light.

Anyone who’s peeked inside the Fiona McDonald showroom in Fulham will be impressed by the custom-made bespoke furniture, lighting, mirrors and seating. Visit her stand for more inspiration on this stylish midcentury vibe!

Decorex

Follow @Decorex_Intl and visit Decorex for tickets, details and updates.

Good things

Round & About

London

Acclaimed author Vesna Main, who lives in Putney, tells us about her new novel Good Day? and the ideas that helped it come to fruition

One January more than a decade ago, Woman’s Hour broadcast an interview with a woman whose husband had been visiting prostitutes for many years. The programme had an online discussion board and many other women poured out similar traumatic stories.

Most of them were in happy, sexually fulfilling relationships. More often than not, their partners were professionally successful, gregarious. There were many conflicting views – some hated the prostitutes seeing them as rivals but also believed as ‘sisters’ they should support them.

That discussion made me question many of my views. I used to think men who visited prostitutes were mostly single and that prostitution was no different from any other industry, with workers freely offering a service in exchange for remuneration. Reading academic research and interviews with prostitutes, it became clear to me that selling one’s body is very different from selling one’s skills and that most of the sex workers were forced to do so usually through social or personal circumstances.

From the material I gathered, a story emerged of two characters, Richard and Anna, a middle aged, middle-class, educated, articulate couple. Richard had been seeing prostitutes for many years and when he was discovered, Anna’s world fell apart. Her past felt false knowing he had had a secret life. Her dignity as a woman was undermined: her husband had chosen others over her. If she confided in a friend, she feared being judged as a woman who denied sex to her partner. She was at a loss at to what to do.

I wrote two versions of the novel, both in a more or less classic realist style, the style that I associate with the great novels of the 19th-century. I abandoned both versions.

After various false starts, I had the idea of writing a novel within a novel. In Good Day?, the main character is a woman writer and every day, as her husband, the reader, returns from work, they discuss her progress.

The story of Richard and Anna is the novel she is working on. In this way, the text had two equally important view points and the dialogue structure suited the questioning nature of the exchanges between the reader and the writer which, as the story progresses, become increasingly confrontational, with the two regularly siding with Richard or Anna, according to their gender role.
We asked Vesna about where she lives and how it inspires her…

Q. Do you have any favourite local places to write, or simply relax? “I tend to write at home. Putney is great for walks and walks are good for thinking. Anywhere I go, the world of the text I am working on is with me and any ideas that pop into my head, I jot down in a pocket notebook. I particularly love the path up or down the Thames near Wandsworth Park. The walled garden at the Bishop’s Palace, just across Putney bridge, is another favourite spot.”

Q. Do you already know what your next book is going to be about? “I wrote a novel last summer and it is in my drawer, left to ‘mature’ before I send it out. Its protagonist is a woman of 92, a former piano teacher. The story takes place over one day as she looks back on her life. Without disclosing what happens, let me just say that my main impulse in writing it was to create a woman at an advanced age who is still very much a sexual being, longing for love and physical affection. It is a positive, affirmative story.”

Q. Do you feel as though you live with the characters while you’re writing them? “In some ways, it is inevitable. I am not a writer who works out the story in advance. I start with an idea, or an image, and the characters and their lives emerge, or not, gradually as they gain confidence in me and tell me what they are about. I have to be patient and leave them time to come back to me. While waiting, I might write a short story or a novella. At the moment, I have two projects I have just started, or rather false started. But that’s how it works with me. I have to keep trying, beginning and abandoning the first 10,000 words until the story emerges. One of the two novels I am working on emerged from a sentence one of my grown-up daughters said, a casual, inconsequential remark that sparked my imagination. The other grew from something I saw through the window of my study, which faces a large block of flats with balconies. One warm day, a man took his laptop onto his balcony and proceeded to work there. At some point we seemed to look at each other, or at least, that’s what it appeared to me. I don’t think he saw me because my side of the house was in the shade but that’s irrelevant. A vague trajectory of a story emerged, very blurred, rather like an image that appears on photographic paper bathing in a tray of film developer.

Q. Do you have any favourite book shops locally that you enjoy visiting?
“The second-hand bookshop by Putney Bridge is excellent and the owner is very knowledgeable.”

Q. How friendly do you feel the Putney community is?
“The best thing about Putney residents is their diversity, in terms of age, class and ethnicity. The area is also home to many Europeans and, as a Francophile, I love hearing French and take every opportunity to speak it.”

Good Day?

is out now

Fox & Pheasant review

Round & About

London

I’m a country bumpkin at heart, and when I moved to Fulham nearly three years ago all my edgy East London pals rolled their eyes and said it was highly predictable, the obvious choice for a Gloucestershire gal like me.

It’s true, there’s something about the leafy streets, parks and plentiful dog owners in SW6 that felt like home. But what I always missed was a cozy country pub, with roaring fires and stuffed foxes, the sort you’d turn up to in wellies after a long walk. That is until my little brother moved up to London a couple of months ago, and sniffed out the Fox and Pheasant. Hidden in a charming little mews called The Billings, a short walk from Fulham Broadway and Stamford Bridge, I’m embarrassed to say I’d walked past the faded Victorian exterior, with its green tiles and hanging baskets, a hundred times without a second glance.

This is probably exactly what James Blunt and wife Sofia Wellesley wanted, when they decided to buy their local boozer and save it from being turned into apartments back. It’s understated, and no expense has been spared in retaining the original charm of the 17th century pub. When I walked in, I was transported with a jolt to my favourite Cotswold pubs, and half expected to recognise the faces at the bar.

We plonk ourselves at the bar for a pint of the Fox and Fez, their house lager, and chat to charming manager Toby. The decor is so quintessentially British it feels a bit like a film set, with vintage wallpaper and original 1930’s oak panels and locals playing darts. The walled garden is divine, with ivy and jasmine and pot-plants galore, and a Wimbledon-style glass roof ready to pull over in case of rain. We sit here for supper, which blows us away with its quality and freshness and attention to detail. You can have your usual pub classics – scotch eggs; burger and chips; honey & mustard chipolatas; a killer roast with all the trimmings on Sundays.

Alternatively you can go off-piste and order soft shell crab tacos with sriracha mayo, or an Ottolenghi-esque roast cauliflower with rocket and dates, sprinkled with dukka grains and toasted almonds. For pudding, don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding soufflé, served with ice cream of the same flavour, which was mind-bogglingly delicious. The Fox and Pheasant is the perfect country escape, while barely having to leave SW6.

Find them

The Fox and Pheasant, 1 Billing Road, Chelsea, SW10 9UJ.

Call 0207 352 2943 or email [email protected]

Clothes swap

Karen Neville

London

I expect like most people you’ve got wardrobes and cupboards full of clothing you never wear? 

A global study in 2018 by removals company Movinga found most of us do not wear 50 per cent of the clothes they own

Hands up if you’re guilty of that, with many in this country owning clothes they haven’t worn for a year.

Help is at hand from Environment Trust, a charity based in South West London, which is encouraging local people to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry by attending their first ever Clothes Swap event on 2nd August at the ETNA Centre in Twickenham.

Tickets for the event support the charity’s vital conservation work and cost £10 per person. People are asked to donate between 4 and 10 items of clothing and will be able to take home a new outfit of the same number of items. The event includes drinks, nibbles, fashion tips, raffle and more, all while being sustainable.

Sophie Norden, fundraising and partnership manager at Environment Trust, says, “We are increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. In fact, it is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry, and the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.

“However, there are solutions and alternatives to address these problems. The first step lies in building awareness and having the willingness to change.

“We hope to help people make this change with our first Clothes Swap and bring along clothes they no longer want.”

Clothes for all the ages and genders welcome, and donated clothes should be washed and in good condition. Clothes will also be accepted on the night and additional items welcome for a ‘to purchase’ rack.

Environment Trust encourages clothes donations to be dropped at the ETNA Centre, 13 Rosslyn Road, St Margaret’s in Twickenham, TW1 2AR ahead of the event, kindly named if participating and, if possible, on hangers.

More information

To find out more about the event and to book your place

Raising a toast

Round & About

London

We celebrate our homegrown food & drink heroes in this rich patch of London, starting with Jessica Elphinstone’s guide to the best summer pubs & bars…

Aside from the obvious, the presence of Great British pub on every corner, when elsewhere in the country they seem to be floundering, is one of the best things about living in south-west London.

August is the month to slope off to a sunny pub garden on a Friday afternoon, and my favourite new discovery (other than The Fox and Pheasant, qv) is the secluded little Scarsdale Tarvern just near Abingdon Villas in Kensington. They have real ales, a lovely food menu, and a cosy little terrace with candle light and blankets for cooler evenings.

Scarsdale Tavern, 23a Edwardes Square, London, W8 6HE. Visit www.scarsdaletavern.co.uk

The Atlas in Fulham is a perennial favourite in our flat for a cheeky weekday drink, with a great leafy terrace area and a weekly changing G&T menu. www.theatlaspub.co.uk 16 Seagrave Rd, Fulham, SW6 1RX.

The Mitre is also a popular Fulham spot, but fiendishly expensive for a pub, with an Aperol Spritz costing in excess of £10. www.themitresw6.com 81 Dawes Rd, Fulham, SW6 7DU

The Duke’s Head in Putney also has loads going on, with comedy nights, quizzes and films keeping local residents endlessly entertained. The boathouse-style pub and restaurant is right on the river with plenty of outdoor seating. 8 Lower Richmond Rd, Putney, SW15 1JN; www.dukesheadputney.com

The Churchill Arms in Kensington Church Street is another iconic drinking spot, with every outside wall laden with a ridiculous amount of flowers, and every inside space crammed with Churchill memorabilia. Apparently, they spend £25,000 on the flowers which bedeck the pub. Built in 1750, the pub was apparently frequented by Churchill’s grandparents, hence the name. It’s a truly eccentric spot, made even more random by the fact this historic boozer serves authentic Thai cuisine. Look out for a hilariously fake blue plaque, which says “Churchill made his wartime broadcasts here, and laughed at Hitler’s watercolours while drinking banana daiquiris and farting.” 119 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8 7LN. (nearest station Notting Hill Gate); www.churchillarmskensington.co.uk

Another gem is the Anglesea Arms near Ravenscourt Park, always rammed on balmy August afternoons young professionals and old crooners alike. If you make it inside, look out for their Long Brick Wall, where they have regular exhibitions of work from local artists and photographers. The Anglesea Arms, 35 Wingate Road, Hammersmith, W6 0UR; www.angleseaarmspub.co.uk

My mum and dad met each other in the Admiral Codrington over 30 years ago, so I thought I should probably pay it a visit when doing some ‘research’ for this foodie special. It might not be as booming as it was in the 1980s, but nostalgia aside, it’s actually a pretty acceptable pub. They serve some pretty good food, a nice range of beer, and even cocktails, but make sure to come on a rainy day as there’s no outdoor terrace. This summer, kids get a free main and pudding from the children’s menu, making it a great stop-off if you’re taking the family to the nearby Natural History Museum or Science Museum. The Admiral Codrington, 17 Mossop Street, SW3 2LY; www.theadmiralcodrington.co.uk

The Little Blue Door in Fulham is one of our favourite party spots, with the unique concept of your coolest and most bohemian friends throwing an epic house party in their weird and wacky home, every night of the week. This summer, the late-night cocktail bar and restaurant have launched a gin terrace with William Grant & Sons, bringing a new cocktail menu and outdoor garden to party the night away. In the style of the eclectic flatshare, they’ve created a great little garden draped with lights, foliage and hanging plants; the perfect alfresco drinking spot. Sports will be played on the big screen, and for anyone who missed out on the ‘frosé’ (that’s frozen rosé) craze last summer, this place is still serving it in 2019. The Little Blue Door, 871-873, Fulham Rd, Fulham, SW6 5HP; www.thelittlebluedoor.co.uk

FUN IN A BUN

Let them eat cake..! Or in the case of Bread Ahead, Matthew Jones’ hugely popular London bakeries, let them eat copious amounts of sticky, delicious cinnamon buns…

One of our favourite pit-stops in London, anyone with a penchant for outstanding freshly baked goods will probably be familiar with Bread Ahead.

Famous for their weird and wacky doughnuts, Bread Ahead has been at the forefront of London’s love affair with bakeries over the last five years. Forget mass-produced supermarket fare; once you’ve tried their artisanal hot cross buns you’ll never look back.

If you fancy having a go in the kitchen yourself, their Bakery School in Borough Market is one of the best out there. It launched in 2014, with the simple aim of showing people how easy it is to create really great bread at home. The perfect gift or quirky date activity, guests can spend a full day in the kitchen with one of the Bread Ahead Master Bakers, with courses ranging from New York baking days (think bagels and bialys) to pizza workshops to doughnut-making and gluten-free workshops. You’ll leave with a belly full of your creations (they serve you a lovely lunch as well) and more pastries than you know what to do with, so make sure to invite friends round!

For those who really wish to take it to the next level, there’s a three-day Guide to Sourdough Bread, in which you’ll learn everything you need to know about wild yeast baking, and will create rye loaves, focaccia, brown levain, fougasse and croissants, to name a few.

Courses from £90. Find Bread Ahead bakery closer to home at 249 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, SW1X 0BP. Visit www.breadahead.com

Taking root

Ed Taylor and Robyn Simms, the bionic couple behind London-based soft drinks company Square Root tell us about their journey.

We started Square Root Soda from our kitchen in 2012 selling ginger beer at a local farmers market. Soon we were producing new flavours every week and blown away by the demand for our soda, so in 2013 we founded the Square Root Soda Works with the aim of creating innovative new drinks, made with as much effort as quality alcoholic drinks. A Square Root is a soda made for the love of fruit, for the excitement of the experimental and for the pursuit of the exceptional.

Q. What are your backgrounds?
Ed and I met during our time at UCL where we were both studying for science degrees. After leaving Ed went to work in brewing for Redemption Brewery and later Howling Hops and I went to work in the craft beer bar The Euston Tap, this is definitely where the love of all things drinks started.

Q. What about the ingredients you use?
At Square Root, natural ingredients are non-negotiable. This means we work closely with amazing farmers across the UK, Italy & Spain to get the very best fresh ingredients for our drinks – like rhubarb grown just for us in the Yorkshire Triangle, blood oranges grown in the shadow of Mount Etna in Sicily and elderflower foraged from Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes. Lots of our drinks are seasonal, meaning we only make the soda when the fruit is available from the growers so there’s always something new and different for you to try.

Q. What inspired you to create your non-alcoholic G&T?
This one is born from a desire to create a robust, grown-up, alternative to other non-alcoholic drinks on the market. We spent 12 months developing our non-alcoholic gin & tonic, which included months of public trials, to try and hone the perfect flavour. The pure ‘gin’ distillate is extracted and blended with our house tonic water, which contains natural British beet sugar, fresh Sicilian lemon juice, juiced on site, lemon rind (so nothing is wasted) and natural quinine. We think it’s very different from anything else out there, with more depth of flavour and less sugar. It’s popular with drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Q. London has such an exciting food and drinks scene at the moment. How is it to be part of this foodie revolution in the city? 
It’s totally amazing, of course. It’s so special to be surrounded by so many other passionate, engaged and exciting people and I don’t think we would have started Square Root if it weren’t for some of the early crowd doing what they’re doing and making it seem less scary to get out there and start my own thing.

Q. Which other restaurants, brands or products really inspire you?
I’ve always been a massive fan of London Borough of Jam; Lillie does such an amazing job of seasonally making jams and capturing the delicious fruit flavour of whatever fruits are around and I always find myself challenged to work out how to capture that in our drinks. I’m also really into all the small kombucha brands on the market at the moment. Since I gave up drinking alcohol in 2018 I find them a great alternative if I’m lusting after a cold glass of wine. I also like pairing them with our rhubarb soda.

Square Root has launched a new Sonata variety strawberry soda to celebrate the quintessentially British fruit at the height of summer. Buy it in Fulham at Gails Bakery, The Hoarder at West Brompton Crossing, and Bailey & Sage, among other places.

Make at Home Strawberry Soda

My absolute favourite thing about summer is the delicious British produce that’s available – it’s part of what inspired us to make a seasonal range of drinks at Square Root, with flavours which change as fruit naturally comes in and out of season.

The first sign that summer is here is British strawberries on the shelves in the shops. Picked riper than the ones that come over from across the globe, British Strawberries usually have a sweeter, more juicy taste. Give this Strawberry Soda recipe a try and see how it measures up to the one we make at Square Root, which you can pick up here.

For one litre of soda you need:

•           300g fresh strawberries, washed and stalks removed.
•           1 large lemon
•           50g caster sugar
•           Half teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
•           Bottle of soda water

Method:

Reserve a few strawberries for serving. Quickly blend the rest of the strawberries in a food processor using the blade attachment to break them down.

In batches, add the strawberry pulp to a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl and press through the liquid into the bowl below. Repeat until you’ve squeezed the juice out of all the strawberry pulp, you should have about 150ml of liquid.

Next, squeeze your half lemon over the sieve to remove any pips and combine the lemon and strawberry juices.

Add the caster sugar and vanilla extract into the bowl. Stir the liquid until the sugar is fully dissolved – you may need to add a touch of water here to help dissolve the sugar but don’t add too much. Once this is done, you have your cordial. You can refrigerate until you’re ready to serve*.

Pour the cordial into a one litre jug or pitcher.

Add ice and fresh lemon and strawberry slices from your reserved fruit and spare half lemon.

Gently pour in the soda water to fill the jug and give the soda a gentle stir, then serve, being carefully not to release too much carbonation from the water.

You’re all done! Try freezing fresh strawberries to make fruity ice cubes if you like and drink up while your fizz is perfectly chilled. Perfecto!

Mix It Up: Replace the lemon juice with the juice of a whole lime for some extra zing!

*If you want to make the cordial in advance pour it into a cleaned, sealable container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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. Visit www.roundandabout.co.uk to vote!

 

Guitar Guinness World Record bid

Round & About

London

A Guinness World Record attempt to hold the longest ever guitar lesson is taking place today at London City Island. 

More than 200 Londoners will take part in the 24hour lesson at Trinity Art Gallery before moving to Trinity Square for a mass gig where the final song will be played in unison. 

Open to all levels and abilities funds raised from the project will allow The Guitar Social, which is hosting the record bid, to extend a course specifically designed to help the visually impaired learn to play the guitar and experience the joy of making music. One such beneficiary is 96-year-old Mary who is partially blind and has just played her first gig. 

Thomas Binn, founder of The Guitar Social, says: “Our classes are about reducing social isolation, raising self-esteem and connecting communities that are too often ignored by the arts world. 

“We decided to use this event to showcase the power of music and to rally support for those who really need it. We hope Londoners will come and join in the fun of this momentous occasion!’’  

The Guitar Social works to get novice musicians out of their bedrooms and on to a stage. 

Get involved:

The record attempt starts at 6pm today (18th) and runs until 6pm on Friday 19th. 

For more information and details about how to get involved, visit Guitar Social