Hoppy ever after

Round & About


Danielle Bekker explains more about her journey to set up her award-winning local business Binary Botanical & how Woking has inspired her

I love beer but I have never enjoyed having beer with food and would typically switch to wine to have with dinner, which is far more alcoholic. So the original idea was to come up with beer that would go well with food and we have done everything to turn beer on its head. We infuse it with hop leaves (which are normally a waste product) and brew with a wine yeast to give a product which is aromatic, tangy like prosecco aromatic but not at all bitter. We have a 4% ABV version which is the low alcohol alternative to wine and the 0.5% which is the perfect adult drink when you aren’t drinking.

My real passion is the 0.5% ABV – it took a lot longer to get this recipe right . A lot of non-alcoholic beers are quite bitter and it took a lot of experimentation to develop something which was aromatic and flavourful but without the bitterness.

My favourite tipple at the moment is actually the binary 0.5.  I don’t drink very much and I love having an adult alternative to lime and soda.

In terms of inspiration there are quite a few – the range of delicious gins that are out there with the various botanical infusions  shows the range of flavours that can be achieved with different botanicals.   I think Seedlip have paved the way for elevating the non-alcoholic cocktail.

Because binary is so different biggest it is not aimed at the traditional beer consumer  – when people taste the liquid the invariably love it but it does confuse the brain – Is it a low alcohol sparkling wine? Is it a beer?.    Beer can be premium, drunk out of a wine glass with a meal by men and women.  It can make delicious low calorie cocktails.   Secondly – you have to get involved in so many different areas of the business  – from sourcing ingredients to packing boxes and trying to understand how to post a story on Instagram (I didn’t have an Instagram account before starting binary!)

Our highlights have been our listing in Harvey Nichols and Ocado – who both said they were excited to genuine new news and innovation in beer.  The second highlight would be being included in craft gin club as the cocktail mixer for their cocktail of the month – they took a big risk including us as their first ever beer and the feedback has been really positive.  And then lastly any time someone says – I don’t like beer and ends up loving binary is probably the biggest highlight of all.

On a more personal level, in my previous role in corporate I had to travel a lot so was away from home a lot so felt as though I missed out a lot on every day family life like hearing about the day at school.  So although I probably work harder now – I am home for dinner every day and see the kids off for school in the morning which is a real privilege.

My favourite part of Woking is probably Horsell Common (thanks to War of the Worlds –  nearly as famous as the Pizza express is now) – the perfect place to re-charge and go for a walk.  I think we are very lucky to live in a town which is so close to London but still has a great village feel about it.

It is so amazing to see how people want to support local businesses – the people we meet at Farmers Markets and festivals are all very passionate about supporting small, local businesses and events like Woking Food Festival go a long way to show casing local businesses in an affordable way.  I am always humbled by how many volunteers  give their time to the various events.   Locally, our aim is to convince more restaurants that innovation doesn’t just have to be in London.  With this in mind we are running a unique Cocktailcompetition for mixologists and bartenders to mark Dry January by creating a new low alcohol cocktail to demonstrate that no/low alcohol drinks can be exciting and delicious  and its only open to for people in the South East.


Q. What would be your dream for Binary Botanical?

My dream would be that we can exemplify a business which integrates its purpose and product into a single story.  By using a waste product (the hop leaf) as a core ingredient, not only are we are driving sustainability in the supply chain and revenue for local farmers we are also championing  the trend for moderation – drinking less or not drinking at all doesn’t mean a compromise on flavour.  We believe that the joyful wellbeing and sociability of beer can be enjoyed by many more people than it is today…. And we plan to convince people of this one sample cup at a time!

More info

To try these wonderful beverages or to find out more about the business head to the Binary Botanical website

Go with the Flow

Round & About


Flow is the first exhibition of 2020 at Lingwood Samuel Art in Godalming and features a selected group of artists from FLUX Exhibition 2019. 

It will be supported by new ceramic work from Cathy Butcher and Claire Ireland as well as the ongoing collection of ceramics, jewellery, sculptures and prints. FLUX has established itself as the platform for contemporary artists to be discovered. 

Among the artists who will be exhibiting are: Amy Oliver, a self taught conceptual artist, using photography and digital manipulation to express her ideas; Lindsay Simons, a figurative painter living and working in London; Nick Huck, a largely selftaught figurative artist working with oil paints on layers of perspex over wood and canvas and Sophie Wake, a contemporary artist using oil or gouache, known for her animal figure paintings.  

Flow runs from Saturday 8th until Saturday, 25th April at the exciting and original contemporary art and craft gallery in Church Street which incorporates studio space for the artist owners: Caroline Lingwood and Margaret Samuel.  

The gallery holds four to six exhibitions a year showcasing carefully curated work from artists from all over the UK: paintings, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media, glass and jewellery. Work is displayed in a setting very different from the traditional white cube gallery, to give an idea of how art can be incorporated into the home. 

More info

The open day this Saturday is from 11am to 5pm. 

For more details visit


Power of plants

Round & About


Watch out for the Giant Houseplant Takeover at RHS Wisley 

A lost and abandoned Victorian house has been overrun by its only remaining inhabitants – the houseplants, and no it’s not the start to a Gothic novel, it’s just the latest exhibition at RHS Wisley.

Hundreds of houseplants will be growing, overflowing and taking over the Glasshouse at the flagship garden until 1st March.

Every room is filled with familiar plants in the Giant Houseplant Takeover where a parlour palm is growing out of an armchair, a giant fern is taking a bath and every cup and tea pot features a growth of greenery.

The aim of the exhibition is to inspire visitors to think about quirky and innovative ways to grow houseplants. You’ll wander around a house of six rooms, each featuring different houseplants that have ‘made themselves too much at home’.

Walk through spider plants, devil’s ivy and spiderwort in the hallway through to the living room where a banana plant is growing through the roof and a group if small palms are playing chess.

The mattress and curtains of the four-poster bed have become entwined with bromeliads and in the dining room, tall succulents and cacti are awaiting their Mad Hatter feast with cupcakes which look like Venus fly traps. The bathroom doesn’t escape either with a waterfall pouring through the ceiling  of ferns and moss.

There’s so much to see. General manager Emma Allen said they want to encourage people to be bolder with their houseplants and see that they don’t need to sit in a pot. She added: “We will keep them well fed and watered and can only hope they will leave our visitors in peace.”

The Giant Houseplant Takeover at the Glasshouse is open from 10am to 3.45pm daily until 1st March and is included in the normal admission price – and watch out as you wander round!

More info

To find out more visit

Banff film festival

Karen Neville


Picture credit: Ben Tibbetts

Celebrate the great outdoors with exhilarating stories and intrepid characters as the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour returns for 2020. 

The tour features two different collections of films from the world’s best film makers, with super-human challenges, inspiring journeys and stunning cinematography from the four corners of the globe.

The tour’s films are chosen from hundreds of entries into the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is held every November in the Canadian Rockies. The UK and Ireland tour visits 60 locations along the way. As well as thrilling films, each event features a free prize draw for exciting outdoorsy goodies from the tour partners.

UK tour director Neil Teasdale said: “We can’t wait to share the latest inspirational films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival on our biggest tour yet.

“As well as exhilarating stories starring intrepid characters and pioneering journeys, an evening at Banff is a celebration of the great outdoors, with a vibrant atmosphere and a real sense of community. And we guarantee audiences will leave inspired to have an adventure of their own.”

For more information about the films and to book tickets visit www.banff-uk.com

The tour comes to G Live in Guildford on 13th March with the ‘red’ series of films and 29th April with the ‘blue’ series of films.

‘Red’ films – Charge, Danny Day Care, The Flip, Home, Up to Speed, The Imaginary Line, The Ladakh Project and Thabang

‘Blue’ films – A Nordic Skater, Return to Earth, The High Road, Spectre Expedition – Mission Antarctica, The Frenchy, The Long Rover Home and The Running Pastor

All programmes may be subject to change.

UCA photography

Karen Neville


Photo in image: From the series La Frontera © Harriet Brookes

Students from the University for the Creative Arts are showcasing some of their work in the latest exhibition at The Lightbox. 

UCA in Farnham has a reputation for educating some of the most innovative photographers of the time and the exhibition will offer visitors an opportunity to explore their work.

The students have captured a variety of themes in their photography to explore contemporary issues, some of which are deeply personal.

Among those whose work is on show include documentary photographer Harriet Brookes whose project La Frontera examines the problems faced by people in Gibraltar during the Brexit negotiations.

Using a series of black and white portraits, Sian Hayden’s photography engages with the uncanny and the male gaze while Neve Marinou explores issues surrounding harassment and the Me Too movement.

UCA Farnham MFA Photography Show is on at The Lightbox, Woking, until 2nd February. Entry to the exhibition is free.

More info

Surrey Wildlife Trust hedgerows

Round & About


Photo: Hedgehog – Jon Hawkins

Traditional hedge laying skills a lifeline for bees, bugs and butterflies

An ambitious new project by Surrey Wildlife Trust to inspire young people to connect with nature in the North Downs and Surrey Hills has received a £390,000 boost from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

By reconnecting people with the local landscape, the Trust hopes to prevent traditional hedge laying skills and wildlife from going extinct in the county by creating vital habitat for hedgehogs, bees, bugs and butterflies.

The project aims to inspire young budding ecologists, practical conservationists and the wider local community by working with schools, colleges and youth groups.

Events such as a hedgerow festival, hedgerow tales storytelling workshops and hedge laying competitions will help the Trust reach its goal of engaging and inspiring thousands of younger people in the project over four years.

Working in partnership with other landowners and organisations across the North Downs, the Preserving Surrey’s Hedgerows Heritage project provides a lifeline from our agricultural history for wildlife and future generations. It will also leave a legacy of creating, restoring and protecting more than 70 kilometres of hedgerows in the North Downs and Surrey Hills to create a more resilient and wildlife rich natural environment for the future.

For hundreds of years, generations of hedge layers have maintained the iconic patchwork quilt landscape of hedgerows to mark boundaries, contain livestock and shelter crops from extreme weather, they have provided a source of food, shelter and safe passage for plants and animals across the landscape.

Today a third of all wildlife in the county is already extinct or heading towards extinction with more than 130 key species that depend on hedgerows at risk. These species include dormice, hedgehogs, bats, butterflies such as the brown hair streak and rare pearl bordered fritillary, bees, bugs and birds such as the white throat and yellow hammer.

Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, chief executive at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “Hedge laying skills need to become mainstream if we are to help nature’s recovery and future-proof our environment. To protect our valuable wildlife and create jobs for our future, younger people need to upskill in nature conservation skills.

“Through our project we hope to give people the opportunity to develop skills and careers in the environment and also improve the health and well-being of young people by reconnecting them with nature.”

The project aims to engage and inspire 2,400 local people, with a focus of more than half being young people from school and youth groups, as well as community volunteers, landowners, farm managers, corporate volunteer teams, public and private sector contractors in the restoration of hedgerows.

Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Urgent action needs to be taken to secure the future of Surrey’s hedgerows and the wealth of wildlife they support and cultural heritage they represent. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players new generations will be equipped with the traditional skills and passion needed to help the county’s hedgerows thrive once more.”

For further information

Star of Wonder

Round & About


Lucy Barker tells us about ‘Star of Wonder’ at Guildford Cathedral

Star of Wonder is a beautiful light and sound show that makes full use of the massive vaulted ceiling and majestic interior of Guildford Cathedral.

Created by artist Peter Walker and composer David Harper of Luxmuralis (Light Murals), the show celebrates the twelve days of Christmas. It takes visitors on the journey of the Magi, through starry skies, religious images and colourful laser beams, in a stunning kaleidoscope of colours.

We went as a family and our two small boys (age five and two) were enchanted by the display all around them. For a first visit to the cathedral it was certainly impressive, and memorable.

It’s on for the next three nights – 16, 17 and 18 January, at a cost of £5 (accompanied under 16s £2.50).

Review of Aladdin

Round & About


Review of Aladdin at the New Victoria Theatre Woking, by Lucy Barker

From the moment the curtain went up on Aladdin, my five-year-old was spellbound by the giant King Cobra snake that reared up at baddie Abanazar’s command. The thing was huge – it reached to the top of the stage and seemed to extend into the audience, complete with flashing eyes and sinuous body.

Next came the double act of David Phipps-Davis as Widow Twankey and Bobby Davro as Wishee Washee, old hats at panto, whose banter was a key feature of the production. Some of the comments were a bit adult for the children but the audience didn’t seem to mind. My son was particularly keen on the donkey derby that took place between ‘mother and son’ although the joke wore a bit thin for me.

As a lifelong Strictly Come Dancing Fan I was looking forward to seeing Brendan Cole, who didn’t disappoint as the Spirit of the Ring and completely overshadowed the special effects genie. I, like the rest of the audience, was entranced by the magic carpet ride taken by Aladdin (although my imagination was stretched a bit too far by the fact that only he got to take a ride, leaving his companions to just walk out of the cave!). This was a definite highlight as, like the snake, Aladdin flew over the audience as well as the stage.

CBBC favourite Mischa Eckersley did a good turn as Princess Jasmine and special mention must also got to Pearce Barro in the title role. The production also featured the talents of veteran ventriloquist Dawson Chance as Chief of Police.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night out, from getting to sneak out at bedtime (his, not mine) with my son; to the display in the foyer of a monkey sneaking into the treasure cove; to obviously the production itself, which contained all the elements of a traditional Christmas pantomime.

The panto runs until 5th January 2020

For more information and tickets

Unicorn adventures

Round & About


Lorrin Chantrey tells us how her four-year-old daughter inspired a unique project, including some festive woodland fun this month & parties galore


My Little Unicorn started two years ago when Lorrin’s daughter Hope started showing locally, for a bit of fun, with her pony.

‘’There’s usually a fancy dress class at local fun shows and this was always Hope’s favourite class. Her little pony Taylor has been as everything you can imagine – Beauty and the Beast, Princess and the frog… We were starting to run out of ideas of what they could go as next. Hope said one day; why don’t we take Snowdrop as a unicorn? It had honestly never crossed my mind to dress a pony as a unicorn…’’

But that’s just what they did and, with Hope as a princess, she won first place and reserve champion of the entire show. ‘’We put photos on Facebook,’’ explains Lorrin, ‘’as you do, proud mum. I then started getting messages from friends of family and friends asking to take Snowdrop the Unicorn along to their kids’ parties. We thought; why not, it’ll help pay for farrier, vet, feed bills etc.’’

After doing this for about a year, roaming with Snowdrop pretty much every weekend, it all became a bit much and inspired the next step. The family decided to build a woodland wonderland at Lorrin’s mum’s stables, ‘’so people could visit us to make ours and the ponies lives easier!’’

After obtaining all the relevant licenses, insurance and inspections, My Little Unicorn is open seven days a week, offering individual experiences, pony trekking, photo shoots, birthday parties, wedding visits, naming ceremonies… ‘’whatever a unicorn can be involved in, we do! We are always adding to the woodland and trying to come up with new ideas on how we could make it more magical, it is a never-ending game!’’

The family used to breed miniature Shetlands some time ago, and breed Appaloosas (with spots). They don’t breed ponies any more but the special ponies they didn’t want to or couldn’t rehome for one reason or another now have a whole new role!

‘’Most ponies born with big bold spots lose their markings as they get older,’’ adds Lorrin, ‘’so it just so happens we’ve ended up with lots of little white ponies that we’ve known most or all of their lives. They have been reared and handle by children most of their lives (bar a couple of rescues) so they adore having lots of fuss and attention. I used to be a photographer full time, so at the start of the summer holidays I decided to take the plunge and become a full time unicorn handler and I can honestly say it’s the best job ever!’’

More info

From 20th-24th December, you can book in to enjoy a 20-30-minute festive experience. Your child/ren will firstly be greeted by a golden unicorn, ride on his jingle sleigh down through the forest to meet two little mischievous pony elves! After warming up with a cup of delicious spiced punch and a yummy festive treat, you will wait to be called by one of the friendly eskimos to meet Santa! Please visit

Missing pieces

Round & About


Locally based charity Jigsaw helps children come to terms with the loss of a parent. Here’s why you should support the Big Christmas Challenge.


More than 40,000 children across the UK lose a parent each year, which works out at 112 every single day.

In Surrey and West Sussex alone, by the age of 16, one in 20 children and young people, will have experienced the death of one or both of their parents.*

Jigsaw (South East) offers a bereavement support service for children and young people who have experienced the death of a significant family member through illness, accident, suicide or murder (through groups in Reigate, Guildford and East Grinstead). Its Grief Project, delivers a six-week support group for families.

‘It was great to share our memories and to realise you are not on your own’

‘Made me realise how much it effected me and it helped a lot that I’m not the only one going through it and everything will be OK’

Through the Preparing for Loss service, Jigsaw offees child-centred, tailored support to families, who will be helped by a named support worker. This individual works on a one-to-one basis with the child and/ or young person when their loved one is terminally ill, at the time of the bereavement and in the initial days and months following the death. They give parental support and advice during this difficult period for the family.

‘First time I’d talked about the painful memories’

‘Jigsaw has brought me so far since my Dad died 3 years ago’

Sophie Bewley, fundraising co-ordinator at Jigsaw (South East) says: “We’re a small charity and we are reliant on fundraising, donations and grants. These ensure we continue to deliver vital services to help children and young people during a devastating and vulnerable period in their lives.

“The Big Give Christmas Challenge runs from noon on Tuesday, 3rd December, until noon on Tuesday, 10th December. During this period all donations to Jigsaw (South East) will be doubled. We’re aiming to raise a minimum of £3,000 during the week.  The money will be used to help fund our Family Groups in 2020.”

Jigsaw (South East)

For information on how to donate to Jigsaw (South East) during the Big Christmas Challenge visit www.jigsawsoutheast.org.uk/ or https://www.jigsawsoutheast.org.uk/make-a-donation/

If you are interested in volunteering for Jigsaw (South East) please contact Volunteer co-ordinator Sarah Dodson by email:  [email protected]

* Parsons, S (2011) Long-term Impact of Childhood Bereavement: Preliminary Analysis of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70). London: Child Well-being Research Centre.

* Child Bereavement Network: www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/research/local-statistics.aspx