Interiors: Decorex

Liz Nicholls


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!


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

Good things

Round & About


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


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


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


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

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. 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. 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;

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);

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;

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;

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;


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

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


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 to vote!


Guitar Guinness World Record bid

Round & About


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

Zip Now

Round & About


Whizz over the city with Zip Now London this summer

Calling all thrill seekers – if the idea of being 35m up in the air in central London, whizzing at speeds of up to 50kph over a distance of 225m appeals then read on…

Zip Now London returns to the Southbank for its third summer season today (12th) until 15th September.

This year it’s set to be bigger and better with a fourth line offering even more highflyers the chance to enjoy the views and the exhileration.

After launching from a 35-metre high tower you’ll whizz past the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Gherkin, Lambeth Palace and The Shard.

Real adrenalin junkies will be able to add on the option of a free-fall mega drop if they think they’re up to it!

Zip Now CEO Barry Shaverin said: “Zip Now London is back and better than ever offering a huge rush of adrenaline without needing to leave zone one. This year we’ve added a fourth line to meet the huge customer demand for people to fly in groups with their families, friends and colleagues.”

Zip over London Monday to Friday 11.30am to 7.30pm; Saturday 9am to 7.30pm and Sunday 9am to 5pm.

To book and for more information visit Zip Now

How to spend a day in

Round & About


Whether you’re a tourist or just curious about our capital, spending the day exploring London can be an amazing experience.

Danny Horwood, from urban scavenger hunt innovators Foxtrail London, shares his advice for what to include on your to-do list.

Much of London’s diverse landscape is made up of buildings that have made it through the Great Fire, the Blitz, and the many other threats since the city was founded more than 2,000 years ago.

A great place to start is London Wall, while mostly in ruins, is estimated to have been built in 190-225 AD and is widely considered the oldest building in London. London Wall is conveniently close to the major landmark Tower Hill, famous for its gruesome executions, and the even more iconic Tower of London, so you can pay a visit to the Crown Jewels, ravens, and Beefeaters while you’re exploring the area.


Modern London

Modern London is diverse, influential, and packed with culture, so there’s always plenty of new landmarks to discover – some are bizarre, like the world’s longest tunnel slide at the UK’s tallest sculpture, the Orbit, and some are impressive, like the Shard and it’s 244-meter-high observation deck.

While not the newest addition to London’s skyline, the London Eye has become an icon in its own right to rival Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, despite originally being designed as a temporary feature. With some of the best views in the city, it’s ideal for taking in all the sights of London at once and a great option for time-pressed tourists.


Don’t miss…

London is home to some of the world’s greatest eating, drinking, and shopping experiences, but there are so many more unique attractions to explore. Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, and Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station, for example, are world-famous must-sees. London’s most popular attraction, the British Museum, boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive displays of world history, if galleries are for you then the V&A museum of art and design has something weird and wonderful for everyone to enjoy, including fashion exhibitions.

If you’re only in London for a short while, it can feel a waste to spend it indoors. Simply strolling down the many famous streets of this old city, there is so much to see and discover including more major landmarks, hidden treasures, and other curiosities.

Why not take a guided tour to get the inside scoop on the rich history of the buildings around you, or take part in an organised scavenger hunt to interact with the city? Getting the family involved in a treasure trail is a great way to have fun, work as a team, and learn through experience.

  There’s so much to see and do in London, just get out and explore!

Fulham artists & potters exhibition

Round & About


Spring art exhibition at Fulham Library

Paintings, ceramics and sculptures by local artists will be on display at Fulham Library in the Society of Fulham Artists & Potters spring art exhibition.

The exhibition which begins today (14th) runs until 19th with much of the work on sale for the six days.

Membership of the society, which was founded in 1952, is open to anyone over the age of 18, living working or studying within the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and neighbouring boroughs.
Artists practise in all media and the exhibition is one of two held every year.

Entry is free and the exhibition runs from 10am to 8pm Tuesday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday and from 11am to 3pm on Sunday.

For more details visit 

Foster Care Fortnight

Round & About


Every year thousands of new foster carers are needed to help young people to flourish in life. Perhaps you could be one of them?

More than 65,000 children currently live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This equates to nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months. Foster Care Fortnight™ is the charity’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and help recruit families.

Ilse who has been a foster carer for more than 10 years thought being single would exclude her, but she says all you need is to be patient, open and have fun. Her children are as involved and act as role models for the foster children she helps. She says: “The benefits are seeing them grow into confident children. They will ask for things and they shine, lift their chins up and become confident little people.”

Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. All are welcome as potential foster carers – all that matters is that you can provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship, or to own your own home, and your sexual orientation or any disability should not hinder your application. Whichever route you choose to go down, you should rest assured that there is a support network to help anyone who is committed and willing to foster a child.

Hannah and Kojo Ntow have been foster carers since 2008, and last year they won a Fostering Excellence Award from The Fostering Network. Initially, they started out as respite carers before eventually progressing to full-time. For the last three years, they have been caring for a four-year-old boy who has a very rare life-limiting condition. Meeting all of his daily needs can be challenging – it can take over an hour to feed him a meal – meaning Hannah’s background as a nurse (Kojo is a bus driver) is particularly useful. Hannah and Kojo’s supervising social worker, Susan Harrisi says: “The Ntows have radically changed their lives for the little boy in their care and have looked beyond his disabilities to care for the child within.”

Find out more

Visit The Fostering Network