Summer dining at The Oarsman, Marlow

Karen Neville

The perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine

The Oarsman, the recently-opened Bistro-pub situated in the riverside town of Marlow is looking forward to welcoming you to enjoy its new outdoor terrace and summer menu.

The Oarsman is a contemporary Bistro Pub & Wine Bar on Spittal Street which serves bistro-style seasonal dishes from the open kitchen and small plates from the charcuterie and larder counter for lunch and dinner.

The stunning new  terrace is now open for drinks, small plates and dining every day which you should be able to enjoy now enveloped in sunshine.

A strong environmental ethos and pledge to support local suppliers where possible will ensure The Oarsman will serve the finest, seasonal produce.

Heading up the kitchen is chef Scott Smith (previously Head Chef at Sugar Boat, Scotland) who has created a menu which honours the very best of British, giving the occasional nod to Scottish and Mediterranean influences and using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that champion small producers.

Smith’s menu brings his Michelin-starred training to bear – diners can expect elevated bistro-classics such as Potted shrimp, crumpet & pickled cucumber, Trotters, bacon & beef dripping or Moules marinere with fries.

If you like your wine, there’s an extensive list of fine & rare wines, as well as a wide range of wines by the glass.

A strong environmental ethos and pledge to support local suppliers where possible will ensure The Oarsman will serve the finest, seasonal produce.

Find out more

Visit The Oarsman’s website (theoarsman.co.uk) for more details.

Be water safe as you swim

Karen Neville

The Royal Life Saving Society has invaluable advice to help you enjoy the water safely this summer

With temperatures set to soar again this week there’s always the temptation to jump in the water and cool down but make sure you do so safely, especially if you’re taking the plunge at an open water site.

Sadly, a very high proportion of accidental drownings take place at lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs and quarries where the lure of cool water on a hot day can be too much to resist.

The Royal Life Saving Society say: “The benefits of swimming and dipping in open water are well documented. Not only does being in or on open water allow new adventure it also has documented benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. All of these hazards can be controlled through proper organisation and planning.”

Risks to consider in open water include: the shock of cold water which can make swimming difficult and increase the difficulty of getting you if you should get into trouble; lack of safety equipment; the hight of the fall or jump; depth of the water – this can change and be unpredictable; underwater objects which may not be visible; obstacles or other people in the water; uneven beds or banks; strong currents that can sweep you away rapidly; water pollution.

Sadly, a very high proportion of accidental drownings take place at lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs and quarries where the lure of cool water on a hot day can be too much to resist.

Drowning is preventable, yet over 400 lives are lost to drowning across the UK and Ireland, every year. If you see someone in trouble, the RLSS advises:

Step 1. Keep alert
Don’t expect a casualty to be shouting for help. They may be struggling to breathe, and drowning looks very different to how it is portrayed in the movies.

If you’re not sure, shout: ‘Do you need help?’ If they say yes or don’t answer at all, it’s time to act.

Step 2. Resist temptation
Don’t be tempted to go in. The water might be cold, which will limit your ability to swim. And whatever has caused the casualty to need help is likely to happen to you too. Stay well back from the edge.

Step 3. Call 999 or 112
Call the emergency services before you do anything else, so help will be on its way.

Or ask someone else to call while you try to help the casualty. If you’re alone without a phone, find someone who can call for help.

Step 4. Shout and signal
From the shore you have a better view of the area than the casualty. Shout and encourage them to reach a life ring in the water, a jetty, or a shallower area of water. Remind them to kick their legs.

5. Find a rescue aid
If there is a life ring, throw bag (filled with rope), or other public rescue aid equipment nearby, quickly read any instructions then throw it to the casualty.

If there is no public rescue aid equipment, throw anything that will float.
Step 6. Safe rescue

Before you pull the casualty in, get down on one knee or lie down so you don’t fall in.

Remember, even if your rescue attempts fail, emergency services are on their way. Keep sight of the casualty to help the emergency services locate them quicker.

Find out more

Visit the Royal Life Saving Society (rlss.org.uk) for more tips and invaluable advice. 

Hogs Back’s ’30 at 30’

Karen Neville

Your chance to join the celebrations for three decades of Tongham TEA

If you live in or around Farnham, the chances are that one of your first pints of beer was Hogs Back’s Tongham TEA (Traditional English Ale). The ale was the first beer brewed at Hogs Back Brewery when it opened 30 years ago, and it enjoyed almost instant success, with the hog icon becoming a familiar sight in pubs across Surrey.

To celebrate its 30th birthday this year, Hogs Back is inviting 30 local drinkers who’ve been enjoying their beers for a while to join them – and bring a younger drinker with them, for a toast to the past, present and future success of the brewery, on Thursday, 18th August.

We remain an independent brewer, committed to our Surrey roots

To join the party just let them know where you drank your first pint of TEA, by visiting the website page.  We’ll invite 30 people to our special birthday drinks at the brewery, with a son, daughter or other younger relative or friend – aged 18+ – to pass the love of TEA down the generations!

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: “We’re delighted to be reaching our 30th birthday with plenty to be proud of.  Much has changed since the brewery opened its doors in 1992, but we remain an independent brewer, committed to our Surrey roots – as demonstrated by our continued investment in our site here at Tongham, including the hop garden.

We are both thanking the local people who’ve made Hogs Back the successful brewery it is today, and doing our best to make sure it’s still alive and kicking in 30 years’ time!

“Clearly, without people drinking our beers, we would have no success to celebrate today! So, we’d like to reward anyone who’s been enjoying our TEA for a while with a pint or two on us, and at the same time introduce our beers to younger drinkers. This way, we are both thanking the local people who’ve made Hogs Back the successful brewery it is today, and doing our best to make sure it’s still alive and kicking in 30 years’ time!”

Hogs Back Brewery opened in August 1992 in Tongham, near Farnham, in 18th century farm buildings that at various times had stored wheat and housed cattle and, appropriately, hogs. The first casks to roll out of the original brewhouse – now the site of the Brewery Shop – and into local pubs were TEA – which was renamed Tongham TEA earlier this year.

Tongham TEA remains the brewery’s best-seller, winning numerous awards over the years, and gathering a loyal customer following in Surrey and across the south. Hogs Back’s reputation as a brewer of exceptionally fine ales was bolstered by subsequent launches such as Hop Garden Gold and RipSnorter and in recent years the brewery has broadened its range, launching new beers such as Hogstar Lager, Surrey Nirvana Session IPA and A over T (Aromas over Tongham) which won CAMRA’s Champion Bottled Beer of Britain in 2020.

HOGS BACK BREWERY – 30 YEARS OF BREWING EXCELLENCE

1992:    First barrels of TEA produced at the Manor Farm site in Tongham, where the brewery remains today. One of the first pubs to stock it is the White Hart in Tongham, where it sells at £1.30 a pint.

1995:    TEA named as runner up in Best Bitter category at the Great British Beer Festival, run by CAMRA.

2000:    TEA named as winner in Best Bitter category and then overall runner up Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival

2006:    A over T (Aromas over Tongham) named Supreme Champion Winter Ale of Britain at the CAMRA Winter Beer Festival.

2012:    Business bought by Rupert Thompson, who had worked in the brewing industry for many years on brands including Carling (Britain’s biggest beer brand), Old Speckled Hen and Hobgoblin.

2013:    Launch of Hogstar Lager, a 4.5% ABV lager brewed with five different hops and selected herb extracts and matured for over a month.

2013:    Launch of Hazy Hog, a cloudy cider

2014:    Planting of hop garden adjacent to the brewery, making Hogs Back the largest brewer with a hop garden in the UK. In 2015, Hogs Back harvest three hop varieties: Fuggles – used in Tongham TEA; Cascade – used in Hogstar lager; and Farnham White Bine.

2015:    Hogstar wins Gold in the Premium Pale & Golden Lagers in the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Awards. It also wins Gold in the SIBA South East Region Awards in 2018

2019:    Relocation of the hop garden to an 8.5 acre site next to the brewery.

2020:    A over T, a 9% ABV bottle conditioned barley wine, wins CAMRA’s Champion Bottled Beer of Britain

2021:    Hogs Back harvests its largest ever hop crop, and 2,500 people enjoy Hop Harvest celebrations over a weekend in September.

2022:    Hogs Back’s flagship ale, TEA, is renamed as Tongham TEA and given a new design. The traditional, graphic style shows an illustration of the familiar Hog mascot in front of the brewery, farm buildings and fields.

Contact Hogs Back Brewery

Visit their website

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Music to pianists’ ears

Karen Neville

Pianoz.com opens a new flagship store on Maidenhead High Street

High-end piano store Pianoz.com has opened its flagship store on Maidenhead High Street. The new shop in the Old Post Office will add to the extensive retail offering in the area.

Spread across two floors, this new location offers one of the largest displays of high-end pianos in the country. Pianoz.com has around 300 pianos on display, from Steinway, Bosendorfer, and Yamaha to a selection of new digital instruments. Locals can ‘tinkle the ivories’ of exceptional antique and bespoke pianos, instruments of historical significance, and even some from blockbuster films.

Even if you are not buying a piano, you can still visit and make use of these interactive spaces

The flagship store also features a flexible performance space with two Steinway concert grands, practice rooms, a YouTube recording studio and teaching facilities – which are already being used by local community groups. Pianoz.com has plans to host events and masterclasses for local schools, with some of the top concert pianists and pop musicians who have purchased pianos from the brand, as well as lunchtime recitals and other events further down the line.

Pianoz.com owner, Adam Harper said: “We are thrilled to have opened our flagship store on Maidenhead High Street in this wonderful location. For us, this space is more than just a store, the outstanding facilities we have incorporated, such as the practice rooms, YouTube recording studio and teaching facilities mean that even if you are not buying a piano, you can still visit and make use of these interactive spaces.”

Book your visit

Pianoz at the Old Post Office is currently open on an appointment-only basis to give customers one-to-one attention and the opportunity to play the instruments without distraction. Appointments available on 0203 888 0880 or

Cliveden Literary Festival revels speakers

Karen Neville

The stunning Berkshire stately home will once again welcome a wealth of authors for the festival in October

A stellar line-up is being assembled for this year’s Cliveden Literary Festival which returns on October 15th and 16th at the iconic stately house in Berkshire.

This year’s festival features expert panels on Putin’s Russia, chaired by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and Zelensky’s Ukraine, with Serhii Plokhy and Anne Applebaum; Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful on his rise to the top of the fashion world; a constellation of all-star novelists on their craft; expanding history’s horizons with William Dalrymple and Peter Frankopan; Succession’s Brian Cox on becoming Logan Roy; and Louise Perry daring to question the sexual revolution.

Renowned as a forum for lively discussion, innovative ideas, and political debate, the Cliveden Literary Festival has been described by Ian McEwan as ‘probably the world’s best small literary festival,’ and by Alain de Botton as ‘the most dignified and beautiful literary festival on the planet’.

Daniel Spiller has reached the finals in the Schwarzkopf Professional Colour Technician of the Year category and now awaits his fate at a black-tie event on November 28th at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.

The stylists submitted four photographs each demonstrating the breadth of their hairdressing expertise, showcasing evidence of both technical skill and creative ability. They will now submit a further four images for the final round of judging, which takes place in September.

A stellar line-up is being assembled for this year’s Cliveden Literary Festival

Run by a committee of writers and historians – Andrew Roberts, Natalie Livingstone, Catherine Ostler and Simon Sebag Montefiore – the Cliveden Literary Festival draws on Cliveden House’s unique history as a literary salon frequented by writers and thinkers including Alexander Pope, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Sir Winston Churchill.

Natalie Livingstone, Chairman of the Cliveden Literary Festival, said: “We’re delighted to announce some of the speakers who will be joining us at the Cliveden Literary Festival this October. As ever, this year’s festival will see our fascinating line-up of speakers discuss – and at times fiercely debate – the most pressing issues of our era.”

Monica Ali • Brian Cox • Peter Frankopan • Edward Enninful • William Boyd • Anne Applebaum • Robert Harris • William Dalrymple • Clarissa Ward • Sebastian Barry • Abi Morgan • Serhii Plokhy • Olesya Khromeychuk • Louise Perry • Jonathan Freedland • Howard Jacobson • Tina Brown • Ben Okri • Mark Galeotti • Julia Samuel • Merve Emre • David Nott • Katy Hessel • Radek Sikorski • Yana Peel • Flora Yuchnovich • Michael Gove • Andrea Marcolongo • Inaya Folarin Iman • Daisy Dunn • Nadhim Zahawi • Robert Hardman • Wesley Kerr • Sam Leith • Joanne Cash • Jonathan Haslam • Mikhail Zygar Harry Mount • Antonia Romeo • Luke Johnson • Albert Read • Octavius Black • Simon Heffer • Andrea Elliott • Lucasta Miller • Alice Thomson • Camilla Tominey • Roy Foster • Wyre Davies • Natalie Livingstone • Simon Sebag Montefiore • Catherine Ostler • Andrew Roberts

More info...

A sell-out success every year, tickets are on sale now clivedenliteraryfestival.org

Thame Food Festival bursary winner announced

Karen Neville

Popular food festival runs on September 24th & 25th and this year more than 180 artisan producers are set to take part

Hartley’s Cookery School, based in Haddenham, has been awarded the Thame Food Festival bursary for 2022.

The bursary, reinstalled after sponsorship by Pinkster Gin, was established a few years ago to celebrate and promote newly-formed artisan food business within a 30-mile radius of Thame.

Hartley’s Cookery School aims to offer cookery class and chef table experiences which explore food, why certain ingredients or techniques are used and how to prepare and cook it. While also creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone – whatever their ability.

Creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone

Simon Hartley, Chef and owner of Hartley’s Cookery School said of the win: “I am delighted to be receiving this bursary and the support of the team at Thame Food Festival. Since opening our doors at Bradmoor Farm in January it’s been amazing to welcome and cook with our first guests at the school. We want to be a community-led business and have so enjoyed building relationships with other food producers and suppliers. Our vision for the school is to share my knowledge and passion for food in a relaxed environment, offering fun-filled courses for all abilities. Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or are a seasoned foodie, there’s something for everyone!”

The bursary includes an award of £1,000, a free pitch at this year’s Thame Food Festival, content in the festival programme, the opportunity to have an interview in the Food Glorious Food marquee and help with PR and social media.

Previous winners have included Ozi Lala, who has gone on to win Great Taste awards for his unique food products and the original winner was Lisa Hartwright of Tess’ Brilliant Bakes. Both of whom are going from strength to strength and still play an active part in the food festival too.

Supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do

Patron and event co-ordinator Lotte Duncan said: “We are delighted to be in a position to offer a bursary again – thanks to Pinkster Gin. As a Community Interest Company, supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do. It was such a pleasure to meet Simon and his partner and hear what they are trying to achieve by giving people friendly, fun cookery courses while learning about the provenance of their food.”

What will he spend the bursary on? Simon said: “As we have only been trading for just over five months, we are looking to use the bursary to invest in upgrading our website, signage and professional photography. Plus, use the support of the judges to broaden awareness of us and explore how we can potentially look at supporting initiatives in the community too.”

Find out more about them at Hartley’s Cookery School and to book tickets for the festival go to Thame Food Festival

M&S Food collaborate with Tom Kerridge

Karen Neville

M&S Food has joined forces with Michelin-starred chef, and father, Tom Kerridge on an exciting new partnership, kicking off with a brand new meal planner to help customers serve up delicious, pocket-friendly family meals this summer.

M&S Food has joined forces with Michelin-starred chef, and father, Tom Kerridge on an exciting new partnership, kicking off with a brand new meal planner to help customers serve up delicious, pocket-friendly family meals this summer.

Tom’s meal planner is packed full of products from the M&S Remarksable Value* range and includes a shopping list full of great value, quality ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes that’ll give you five mid-week meals for a family of four, with handy tips for any leftovers.

Each of the recipes comes in at under £2 per person – giving customers an M&S-quality meal, created by a Michelin-starred chef, for less than the price of a cup of coffee and all prices of the ingredients in the meal planner will be locked for the whole summer.**

Developed around ‘ALL taste, less waste’ the planner includes recipes such as Chipotle Chicken Thighs with Herby Rice, with tips to turn any leftovers into a burrito bowl for lunch the following day, and Sweet & Spicy Sausage, Carrot & Broccoli Bake, with an amazing hack for turning the leftover broccoli stalk into its very own pesto.

Tom knows a thing or two about how to create delicious family meals on a budget

Following the success of his recent Full Time Meals campaign with footballer Marcus Rashford, Tom knows a thing or two about how to create delicious family meals on a budget. He told M&S Food Magazine: “One of the big things is having a shopping list and an understanding of menu prepping and meal planning, knowing what you’re going to cook over the next five or seven days. Build together the recipes you’re going to cook, and only buy what you need – a little bit of structure works really well.”

As well as being famous for his Michelin-starred ‘pub classics’, Tom is well known for his stances on sustainable farming, supporting British farmers and reducing food waste.

M&S won’t compromise on quality

He said: “I think people are always surprised when they realise prices at M&S are much more competitively priced than they’d expect, especially on most of the things you’d buy on a weekly shop like milk, butter, cheese, bread, pasta and veg. And I think the quality behind those products is still absolutely top notch. The eggs are still free-range, the mince is completely traceable. M&S won’t compromise on quality even with its Remarksable Value ingredients, and that’s something really important to me.”

All taste, less waste

Pick up the shopping list in store and scan the QR code to find the recipes and meal planner online, or find it on the Marks & Spencer website

New theatre company Moonhawk stage Frankenstein

Karen Neville

Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre is the stage for inaugural production 

Catch new theatre company Moonhawk in action from Wednesday, 30th March until Saturday, 2nd April when they’ll be performing a new version of a classic tale. 

The fledgling company will be staging Nick Dear’s version of Frankenstein based on the Mary Shelley original at the Unicorn Theatre full of all the Gothic and romantic elements that have made this tale popular still more than 200 years later. 

Victor Frankenstein (Nick Kovari) constructs a creature from recovered body parts. When his creation comes to life he runs away in horror and abandons it. The creature wanders across Europe, trying to escape violence and hunger. When he is taught to read and write by a blind teacher he learns about his creator and begins a new journey to find Frankenstein and to get answers. 

This is the first production from Moonhawk who will perform a wide range of plays, old and new and welcome anyone and everyone with an interest in all aspects of theatre production, either on stage or behind the scenes. The new theatre company has been created to give opportunities to actors and technicians of all ages with the aim of supporting those wanting to go to drama school. 

Moonhawk founder Leon Witcomb said: “I caught the drama bug over 10 years ago and have been acting, directing and stage managing ever since. More recently I’ve entered the world of producing, hence Moonhawk Productions.  

“We’re based in Abingdon-on-Thames and we use several locations to put on our diverse types of 

drama. We operate an “open door” policy meaning that anyone can be part of Moonhawk – on stage, back stage, production and front of house.” 

Leon added: “My mentor and the catalyst for my drama career is my old drama class teacher, Andrea Mardon. She taught me from a very early age and directed me in many shows and inspired me to take acting and producing seriously. Thanks Andrea! 

“Moonhawk have some really amazing plays, as they say in politics – shovel ready and raring to go! Watch this space!” 

Tickets £10, age 14 & upwards on the door or from www.wegottickets.com/moonhawk

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Pizzeria Campana: A taste of Italy

Karen Neville

A truly authentic pizza restaurant and take away opens on March 19th at The Shed, Bordon

Pizzeria Campana is not another pizza chain outlet but a real family business bringing the taste of Campania (the Italian region where Naples is located) into the heart of Bordon with traditional Italian pizzas.  

Gareth Turner, one of the Pizzeria Campana team is thrilled to be opening: “It started as a simple dream – to create a truly Italian style pizza oven stocked with wood, fired up and ready to bake a pizza, which has been lovingly handmade from a carefully crafted authentic recipe and topped with the finest, freshest ingredients.” 

“Open 7 days a week, for lunch and evening service, Pizzeria Campana will take you on a culinary trip to Italy. Our friendly family team members will be ready and waiting to bring the authentic Italian style pizza restaurant (collection and delivery) into the heart of Hampshire. 

Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company is delighted to announce this new opening on Saturday, 19th March. In recent months The Shed has also welcomed new food restaurants/takeaways The Shack and Stuff’d as well confectioner Sweet Treats to its unique, authentic shared experience. 

With a range of artisan treats, home cooked food, arts & crafts, creative workspaces and great local entertainment The Shed features an array of the best local makers and creators. 

There are Markets every Wednesday and on two Saturdays a month, plus entertainment at The Cube and host of major events throughout the year, so there’s so much more on offer than in your average shed. 

Pizzeria Campana opening times:

Mon – Wed: 11am-9pm
Thu – Sat: 11am-10:30pm
Sun: 11am-7:30pm 

For more information about The Shed, businesses and events, visit: www.theshedwb.com  

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Make Mother‘s Day Lush 

Karen Neville

From Thursday 17th March, Lush will be offering an immersive pop-up experience in the lead up to Mother’s Day at Oxford’s Westgate shopping centre. 

There will be Lush gift concierges and product experts on-site to help customers handpick the perfect ethical gift for every need and guide them through the Lush Sleepy & Spa Pop-Up. 

Running until Sunday 27th March the activation is just in time for National Sleep Day on Friday 18th March when customers and their mother figures will be able to find a place to relax and unwind.

The Sleepy & Spa pop-up will host a tunnel where visitors can take a moment to immerse themselves into the space and learn practices to help them feel more calm and grounded. The journey will be an introduction to mindfulness including a complimentary hand and arm massage area for visitors to sit and relax with a Lush Spa therapist who will be teaching self-massage techniques. It’s time to slow down to speed up!

Lush Sleepy Range and limited products

Alongside Lush’s popular Sleepy range, customers will have access to purchase a limited amount of the Sleepy Candle, the Sleeping Giant Bombshell that is only available in Lush Anchor shops and Dreamtime Temple Balm, only found in Lush Spa locations. 

Customers will also be able to purchase vouchers for Lush Spa treatments. 

Lush Spa Treatments

Created to transform mind and body, Lush’s luxuriously pampering spa treatments are the perfect way to rejuvenate and revive. With eight Lush Spas to choose from and with treatment vouchers available in Lush shops nationwide, you could say that the Lush Spa is Lush’s best-kept secret.

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