Celebrating Down’s syndrome & Sparkles charity

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Life-changing charity Sparkles helps children with Down’s syndrome & urgently needs your donations to keep going. Mum Emily Reay tells us more…

“Down’s syndrome”… What do you think of when you hear these words? Probably some sort of stereotype. Sadly, people with Down’s syndrome (DS) face this all the time and assumptions can become reality, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since having Teddy – and knowing other families who have a child with DS – I’ve heard all sorts of negative things… “He may never talk.” “He may never walk, run, jump climb.” “He might not ride a bike, read or write, get a job.” Teddy can do all these things and more; he’s incredible! Yes some things take him a little longer, but he never stops trying and we’ll never stop helping him. However, if a child can’t do these yet, then that’s OK too. But let’s assume that they can, so that maybe they will.

The biggest challenge faced by families and people with DS is the barriers we face, because of expectations or the fact that equality doesn’t exist. Let’s take the UK abortion law. A baby with DS can be aborted up to the point of birth, 40 weeks. But for all other babies there is a 24-week limit. That’s inequality right there.

Lots of healthcare professionals ask “What do you want for your child?” and initially when I used to say, “I just want him to be happy” (which is another stereotype by the way, people with DS are not always happy; come over when he’s tired and hungry!) However, this is a cop-out answer. What I want for Teddy is exactly the same as what I want for his sisters. I want him to thrive and be the best he can be.

“What I want for Teddy is exactly the same as what I want for his sisters. I want him to thrive and be the best he can be.”

If you meet someone with DS, treat them as you would anyone else, because they are. They have a right to be included, fully and equally, respected and accepted. In our house we say “everyone’s different, and different is good”. When I tell people I have a child with DS I’m often greeted with a sad face or “I’m so sorry”. Don’t be! There’s nothing to be sorry about. He’s Teddy first, who’s cheeky, funny, loves school, football and the Rolling Stones. He also happens to have Down’s syndrome.

Teddy has received wonderful support from Sparkles. The team support pre-school children with DS with weekly speech and language therapy, OT and physio. This is an invaluable supplement to the NHS therapy which is not as frequent. The charity is entirely parent-led and relies solely on fundraising. With the cost-of-living crisis and Covid, the charity is struggling so Teddy and his friends have just completed a sponsored litter pick around the local village. Anything you can do will really help Sparkles.

Please visit sparkles.org.uk for donation info. Or if you could sponsor a child’s therapy for a year email [email protected].

Paul Clerehugh’s Goosebury Crumble

Ellie Cox

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Crooked Billet’s Paul Clerehugh shares his Gooseberry Crumble recipe with Round & About readers

Watch Paul Clerehurgh talk about the recipe on our podcast, Spotlight: The Diary for the South East OUT NOW on YouTube.

Gooseberry Crumble – serves 6

Ingredients:
• 200g Plain flour
• 125g Unsalted butter
• 75g Caster sugar
• 500g Gooseberries
• 100ml Elderflower cordial

Method:
• Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees. Put the flour in a mixing bowl & add small cubes of fridge cold butter. With your fingers, rub the flour & butter together until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Tip the caster sugar in and stir through.
• Top & tail each gooseberry & put them into a baking dish, drizzle over the elderflower cordial & roll the gooseberries around in the cordial so that they all have an elderflower coating.
• Evenly sprinkle the crumble mix over the gooseberries
* For best results, don’t flatten & push the mixture down
• Bake for 40 minutes in the pre-heated oven. It is ready when the crumble topping is golden brown & the gooseberries are completely soft & tender.

Crooked Billet. Newlands lane. Stoke Row – Henley-on-Thames RG9 5PU

www.thecrookedbillet.co.uk

Q&A with Sharron Davies MBE

Liz Nicholls

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Liz Nicholls chats to Sharron Davies MBE as she looks forward to The Olympic Games – her 13th – starting later this month in Paris

Watch & listen to Liz Nicholls catch up with Sharron Davies on our podcast, Spotlight: The Diary for the South East, OUT NOW on YouTube.

Q. Hello Sharron! Who are your Team GB ones to watch?
“Well they’ve got a tall order because Tokyo was the most successful Olympic games for the British swimming team for 100 years. So it’s going to be very tough for them to be as successful but I expect them to be very close to it because they’ve got a very strong team, particularly the men. Adam Peaty seems to be back on track which is good news for the British team because what happens on day one sets the tone. We also have Tom Dean and Duncan Scott. Daniel Wiffen stands a very good chance in the 200m – we like to see the Irish doing well, too, don’t we? The girls are going to have it a little bit tougher. They had good trials and we have a couple of world champions going into this with Laura Stevens and Freya Colbert. But I think the Canadians, Americans and Australians will bring another level.”

Q. Will you be in Paris for the whole games?
“Yes, I’ll be poolside covering the swimming throughout and then I’ve wangled a couple of days at the end to see a bit of track and field with my 17-year-old. This will be my 13th Olympic Games! I entered my first junior international a 11 and my first Olympics at 13.”

Q. You were great as Amazon on Gladiators! Do you watch much TV?
“I do: mostly live sport and Netflix. And, most people don’t know this about me but I’m a big Star Trek fan! I love anything that depicts us living in harmony, all shapes and sizes from all sorts of places. I love the idea we might be able to do this one day.”

Q. Who were your heroes growing up?
The Mirror used to fly in swimming superstars. I met Johnny Weissmuller & Shane Gould. And I remember watching Mark Spitz with his famous moustache & seven medals. Also David Wilkie, who sadly died recently, was a great inspiration to me and, later, a friend. I have many female heroes. We appear to be living in a much more misogynistic world right now & those pushing back for fair & equal opportunities for our girls I admire on a daily basis. I can’t say I even thought of myself as a feminist until recently, but regressive stereotypes & social media are making life much harder for young females.”

Q. Where do you like to swim?
“Aha, well I don’t swim often these days because swimming has ruined my shoulders! Swimming wears your rotator cuffs out – that’s our injury. If I’m on holiday and I’m on a beach and it’s lovely, I’m in the water but I don’t use swimming to keep fit. I’m cycling or in the gym four times a week.”

Q. What tips would you give anyone who wants to get fit & healthy?
“It’s never too late! You can make a radical difference with tweaks. It’s all about consistency, mobility, your core. We need to put a little stress on our joints as well, particularly as women, to avoid osteoporosis. Silly stuff like climbing stairs instead of escalators or lifts. Just do all of those things automatically. My dad is 88 and I always say to him, whether you’re getting on and off your sofa to do two squats every single time. And when you’re there making your cup of tea, stand on one leg. Obviously hold on to something supportive if you need but balance as we age is really important because once you start to get into your 80s, if you fall over and break a hip, it’s massive. And that’s all down to core stability and balance and we don’t tend to look after that. What’s really interesting is that Japanese people have hardly any of the hip issues we have because they’re constantly getting up and down off the floor so their core stability is so much better than ours.”

Q. What about eating, Sharron? Is there anything you do or don’t eat?
“There’s nothing that’s off the agenda, I just tend not to eat unhealthily regularly and I would say little tips like making sure you eat colourful food works really well. Nearly all beige and bland food isn’t good for us. Processed sugar is the devil and it creeps into everything these days, especially ready meals! I don’t drink very much, never have. I’ve never smoked. I’m a morning person so I go to bed reasonably early and like to be up and get going – I think that’s a knock-on of having to get up at 5am for training from such a young age! Alcohol has hidden calories which are easy to forget about. And try not to eat really late as well. It’s slowing your metabolism down filling your belly and going to bed is not good for your digestive system.”

Q. Do you still love dogs?
“Yes, we’ve got two: Flash the blind Basset Hound is very unflash; my son named him! And Ed the dachshund.”

Q. You’re a grandmother now aren’t you?
“I am – that’s who I’m out with today. I’ve got a granddaughter who’s four and a grandson who’s four months. It’s a cliché but it’s so much easier than being a mum because you can just hand them back. I love it! I often have Ariya on a Friday and it’s my favourite day of the week. We live in a very fast world and we often don’t live in the moment. When I’m with my granddaughter I have to live in the moment. She wants me to draw pictures with her and throw a ball and do all sorts of innocent things. You have to put your mobile down and turn the TV off and give them a bit of time and effort – that’s really all they want.”

Fitwaffle’s No-Bake Baking for families

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We’re sharing a taste of easy oven-free recipes from the book by Eloise Head AKA Fitwaffle who will star at Big Feastival

Microwave chocolate cake

No one will ever know this cake was made in the microwave! It’s unbelievably soft and moist, topped with a rich chocolate ganache. If you want to make a cake, but don’t want to turn on the oven, this chocolate cake is perfect. Plus it’s so easy to make and you don’t even need any eggs.

Ingredients:
For the cake
• 150g (1¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, heat-treated
• 100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
• 60g (8tbsp) cocoa powder
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, or 6 tbsp vegetable oil
• 380ml (scant 12/3 cups) warm water

For the topping
• 150g (5.25oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
• 150ml (2/3 cup) double (or heavy) cream

Method:
Cake
1. Grease and line an 18cm (7in) round microwave-safe cake mould with non-stick baking paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder using a balloon whisk until combined.
3. Pour in the melted butter or vegetable oil and warm water and beat until runny and smooth.
4. Pour the batter into your cake mould.
5. Microwave on medium heat for 5-6 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Check the cake about 1 minute before you think it’s cooked. If you overcook it, it can become dry and rubbery.

Topping
6. Put the chocolate and cream into a microwave-safe jug or small mixing bowl and microwave on medium for 1 minute 20 seconds. Leave to stand for 1 minute, then stir gently until smooth and combined.
7. Transfer to a serving plate and pour the ganache over the cooled cake, letting it drip over the edges slightly, and smooth it out.
8. Let the ganache set at room temperature, then cut into 8 slices and serve. Enjoy!
9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If eating the cake after it’s been in the refrigerator, leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Strawberries and cream cheesecake bars

These cheesecake bars are fresh and fruity and so creamy and delicious. They have a buttery biscuit base, a creamy cheesecake filing packed with strawberries, topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Perfect for a summer barbecue.

Ingredients:
For the base
• 250g (9oz) digestive biscuits (or graham crackers)
• 100g (3.5oz) unsalted or salted butter, melted

For the filling
• 500g (1lb) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
• 150g (1¼ cups) icing (powdered) sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Pink food colouring (optional)
• 100g (3.5oz) fresh strawberries, diced

For the topping
• 200ml (scant 1 cup) cold double (or heavy) cream
• 8 fresh strawberries, halved, to decorate

Method:
For the base
1. Line a 20cm (8in) square baking tin with non-stick baking paper.
2. Put the biscuits into a food processor and process until finely crushed. Alternatively, put them into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Tip into a medium mixing bowl, then pour in the melted butter and mix with a spoon until fully combined.
3. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of your prepared tin with the back of a spoon, then pop into the refrigerator while you make the filling.

For the filling
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, icing (powdered) sugar, vanilla extract and pink food colouring, if using, with an electric hand mixer until smooth, then fold through the diced strawberries.
5. Remove the chilled base from the refrigerator, then spoon on the filling, smoothing it out to the edges.
6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until completely set. Cut into squares.

For the topping
7. Whip the cream with an electric hand mixer to stiff peaks. Pipe the whipped cream in a swirl on top of each square. Place half a strawberry into the whipped cream, as shown in the photo, for decoration. (I find it easiest to do the topping after the cheesecake has been cut into squares).
8. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.




The best rose wines for summer

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Discover the best rose wines for summer sipping with Round & About Magazine’s guide to the best rose wines

The outlook is Rosé…

Summer’s here, according to the calendar if not the weather, so it’s time to slap on some sun cream (pull a jumper on) and crack open a bottle of rosé.  

Rosé wines have come a long way in the last ten years. When I joined the wine trade they were about as easy to shift as a tin bath full of rubble. Wine lovers’ opinions of rosé wine were either informed by the likes of Mateus Rosé or white Zinfandels, a bottle of which could be enough to prompt a diabetic coma, or half-hearted efforts that were pretty, but pretty tasteless.

Today, everything in the world of rosé wines is, well, rosy. Great wines can be found all over the world, and even the finest wines remain affordable. So, to celebrate the arrival of summer and in the hope that we’ll see the sun, here are my top rosé wine recommendations.

First up is a South African, the Wild Child Grenache Rosé from Journey’s End (£13.50 Noble Green). This is a juicy style of rosé that’s easy to love. Made from old vine Grenache, the juice gets a relatively short (3 hours) contact with the skins, giving it its lovely delicate pink colour. That’s about the only thing that is delicate about this wine. Big, opulent and mouth-filling, it’s packed with strawberries, red cherries and raspberries with all the sharpness of a blancmange – just the thing for sipping in the garden.

Spain is an excellent source of great value rosé (rosado). Wines like Viña Sol Rosé  (Waitrose £8.99) never fails to please. Recently, however, there’s been a move to creating rosé fine wines of which the Muga Flor De Muga Rosé (Majestic £21.99) is a fantastic example. I’ve shied away from this wine in the past as you can get the excellent Muga Rosado for £11.99. Having tasted it though, I have to say it is worth the extra money. Produced from ancient high-altitude vines, the concentration of red fruits, melon, and peach balanced by loganberries and citrus is impressive. This should be partnered with fine foods such as shellfish or lightly cooked lamb.

Provence has always been famed for its rosé wines. In 1955 a system of Cru Classé (great growths) was established, which recognised 23 exceptional estates. While the prices for some have become as eye-watering as the exclusive perfumes their bottles resemble, others remain affordable. If you want to try a wine that tastes as good as it looks – and let’s face it, it’s stunningly pretty – try the Château Sainte Roseline Prestige Provence Rosé (Ocado £19). From its rose diamond hue to its firm, mineral and raspberry finish, this is a class act. Gentle but with a lovely depth of flavour, this is one of those wines that draws you further in with each sip. It starts out offering watermelons and strawberries, but these morph into firmer tones of raspberries, peaches, and nectarines with an undertow of brambles, cream, and cherries. Lovely on its own, it’s made for seafood or fine white meats.

My next recommendation is a first for me. I honestly can’t ever remember recommending a fine Italian rosé wine. In my experience, Italian rosé (rosato) has been pleasant but hasn’t warranted purple (pink?) prose. The Albia 2023 (Vinum £15.05) from Ricasoli is a big exception to this rule. This Tuscan beauty is full, rich, and satisfying. Deep copper pink, it takes a little air to open it up, but once it’s had some times it’s full of red cherries, dried strawberries, and apricots with intriguing, slightly ‘spiky’ red berry acidity that I associate with Sangiovese. Good on its own, great with food, this is a brilliant rosé for alfresco dining.

The Loire Valley is best known for its white wines such as Saumur and Sancerre. While these are classics, both also produce impressive rosé wines.  Take the Domaine Lauverjat Moulin des Vrilleres Sancerre Rosé (Perfect Cellar £23.70). Made exclusively from Pinot Noir grown on limestone and clay soils, it offers precision with power. The nose balances citrus and black berries, roses and dusty minerals, while the palate manages to harmoniously combine raspberries, leafy blackcurrants and grapefruit and savoury, chalky notes. Try this with full-flavoured white fish such as monkfish or cod or with pork or lamb.

Next up a fizz, the Terra Organica Rosé Prosecco (Ocado £13). Rosé Prosecco was only officially sanctioned in May 2020 but on the evidence of this, it was worth the wait. While I find white Prosecco pleasant enough it all too often becomes cloying after a couple of glasses. This wasn’t the case with the Terra Organica. The addition of Pinot Nero to the Glera has added a savoury, black cherry note to the melon, pear, and white peach flavours. Add to this a fresh acidity and a hint of yeast and you have one of the best value fizzes you can buy.

I’ll finish with an Australian wine – well, I did say great rosé can be found all over the world – the Rogers & Rufus Rosé (Latitude Wines £16.50). Made from that classic rosé grape, Grenache, this is an interesting take on New World rosé. Coral pink, the nose is full of red berries, brambles, green apples and honey. The latter took me aback a little and raised fears that this was going to be off-dry, a style of rosé I’ve never found to work. Happily, it turned out to be a false alarm, and while a heather honey note pervaded the palate – probably from the American oak – it was dry, clean, and refreshing. Without wishing to sound stereotypical, I can see this going brilliantly with barbecued seafood and white or red meats. It’s powerful yet rounded and soft-hearted. Oh, and in case you were wondering it’s made 105km from the sea and surf. More labels should carry useful information like this if you ask me!

Well, I hope you’ll try out some of these amazing rosé wines. Next time out I’ll be dishing up some ideas for barbecue wines. Weather permitting.

Cheers,
Giles

Scents of summer

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Artist Helen Grimbleby shares her love of nature in her monthly Nature Sketchbook

“Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full grow and luxuriance of its richness.” Charles Dickens

Summer is the season when our senses may easily delight in the natural world and the fairer weather means the opportunities to engage directly with nature are greater.

The wind of blustery seaside cliff tops is kinder and more inviting when it is warmer and drier. Its gentler brush on bare arms may even be welcome on hot summer days. Pink sea thrift flowers break up the wild expanses of rocky coastal scenes dominated at other times by blues, greens and greys. Such rocky coastal locations can also be home to puffin colonies who at this time of year are kept busy feeding their single chick broods.

Puffins can be found on the mainland in the very North of Scotland and also at Bempton in Yorkshire. Most are found on small islands such as Skomer (Wales) and the Farne Islands (Northumberland).

Badger cubs are actively playful now and I am so very hopeful to see some this year. I plan a few night-time hikes for this purpose. This brings excitement and a hint of trepidation in equal measure as the familiarity of darkness and shadows was left behind in the long-ago winter months.

After re-reading Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows in late spring, I was longing to see a badger in the wild, something I had never seen before. A short while later, I was slightly lost making my way back to a campsite in Wales after a friend’s birthday party. Having gone off track, driving up a high-hedged narrow single track, steep mountain road in the Black Mountains, I was focused on fretting about meeting a vehicle coming the other way. Then, turning a corner, I found myself face to face with a badger. Only momentarily perturbed by the road blockage cause by my car, it set off making its way through the embankment hedge, its slightly brownish, warm black coloured body perfectly camouflaged, wearing an intelligent expression set on a moon river face. What a joy!

I am assured of the scents of summer on my night-time walks with honeysuckle, wild rose, elderflower and pyramid orchids all in June bloom and my jaunts may be accompanied by an orchestra of grasshopper making their reedy music as I go. Will you walk with me grasshopper?

Helen Grimbleby is a West Berks/North Hants based artist who is inspired by the natural world’s changing seasons. After exploring outside, she enjoys writing, illustrating and painting larger landscapes at her home studio (@helengrimblebyart).

Ruby Wax MBE on tour

Liz Nicholls

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Liz Nicholls chats to author, comedian & mental health campaigner Ruby Wax whose I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was UK tour has been extended by popular demand

Q. Hello Ruby. I loved your book, I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was – it helped me a lot. Do you think it’s your best?
“Oh thank you, that means a lot. Well, I’m not sure but being on tour with this book has been the most fun, so that’s a clue. And I love it when people talk to me afterwards to say they feel less alone. So there is a reward for me ending up in a mental institution, after all.”

Q. One thing I loved was that you discovered your love for your husband Ed, your ‘rock’…?
“Yes, we never say stuff like that. Eddie’s sitting in front of me now, and he’s thrilled. No, we’re not a lovey-dovey couple at all, that’s why it’s lasted so long. That and distance.”

Q. Did you enjoy studying for your master’s [in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy] at Oxford Uni?
“Oh yeah! My favourite expression now is ‘I went to Oxford’. I was in Summertown so it wasn’t quite the cloistered, beautiful Oxford that everybody pictures but I was so entranced by the subject, the mind, the neuroscience of it. I said to them: if you don’t let me in I’m going to study it anyway.”

Q. How important is ritual in your life?
“Really important. I don’t have enough because I don’t have religion – I wish I did. I have to do mindfulness every day. It’s a work-out for the mind otherwise I’m all over the place.

Q. You were so honest with Louis Theroux on his Grounded podcast and it led to you being on TV more again. How do you feel about him now?
“I think what a decent human being he is. I didn’t do that interview so I could get back on TV. But it was a sweet thing he did. And, really, the man knows how to interview. So that’s fine: I can see the attraction now.”

Q. You made your name interviewing people, and doing it well. How do you feel about Donald Trump now?
“Let’s not discuss it: it’s too upsetting.”

Q. Is there anyone you’d like to interview?
“Not really. The people who I’d really like to speak too are vary of a camera. In politics now you couldn’t get to anybody or get any answers out of them, so what’s the point?”

Q. Do you watch much telly?
“Only Netflix and Amazon. No terrestrial or news; too many weapons of mass distraction, it creates a sense of terror we don’t need. But Married At First Sight Australia is a masterpiece. I’ve got a fan group and won’t have anything said against it.”

Q. What’s your favourite book?
“Too hard but A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Falling Upward by Richard Rorh are both brilliant.”

Q. Who would you choose as your dream parents, as obsessed to the parents you had?
“Hmm. Maybe Barack and Michelle Obama? They’d be great”

Q. Would you have liked to have a sibling to help you feel less alone as a child?
“It would have been nice but I’ll never know. You might want a brother or sister but what if they just spent their life beating you up?”

Q. If you had a magic wand what would you wish for?
“That people would be less savage. But that’s not going to happen.”

Q. Do you enjoy being on tour?
“I’m happier being on tour than doing anything else. I love being on trains, in a different hotel every night, and I love exploring the town I’m in and chatting to people after the show. I’m curious and I like to investigate each town. Coping with real life, that’s the tricky bit, but never touring.”

Visit rubywax.net for tour dates & more.



Booming good bakes for garden parties

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We’re serving up a slice of inspiration ahead of the National Garden Scheme’s Great British Garden Party, raising funds for great causes

Victoria Sponge with a twist
This recipe comes from Sarah Prall

Ingredients:
• 175g self-raising flour
• 175g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
• 175g caster or vanilla sugar (plus a little extra to finish)
• 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
• 250g mascarpone
• 150ml double cream
• Punnet of raspberries
• 3-4 tbsp soft set raspberry jam
• 2 tbsp fine white sugar
• 1 tsp rose extract
• Pinch of sea salt
• Garden roses to decorate

Instructions:
• Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4, Prepare two 8″ cake tins, well greased and then lined.
• Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and put aside.
• In a large mixing bowl beat the butter to a cream.
• Add the caster sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very light and creamy.
• Add the eggs, about a quarter at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the weighed-out-flour with each addition and beating thoroughly before adding the next. Beat in the rose extract with the last of the egg
• Sift in the rest of the flour, half at a time, and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in.
• Divide the mixture equally between the prepared cake tins, spreading it out lightly and evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cakes are lightly golden and spring back into shape when gently pressed.
• Leave the cakes in the tins for a couple of minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• Make the rose and mascarpone cream.
• Beat together cream, mascarpone, and a couple of drops of rose extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
• Add sugar gradually, mixing continuously until frosting is smooth and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
• Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator.
• When the cakes are cold, spread one cake with the raspberry jam, and add a layer of fresh raspberries.
• Spread half the mascarpone cream over the other cake and gently place on top of raspberry layer.
• Spread the remaining cream mixture on to the top of the cake and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve dress the cake with fresh garden roses.
* For an extra special twist, if you have any, place three or four deliciously scented geranium leaves, such as Mabel Grey or Attar of Roses, in the base of the lined tin. Remove when the cake is turned out to cool.

Lisa’s zingy lemon drizzle cake
Lisa from Thames Hospice has shared their zingy lemon drizzle cake recipe.

Ingredients for the cake
• 125g butter (room temperature)
• 175g caster sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 175g self-raising flour
• 4 tbs milk
• Zest of 1½ lemons (unwaxed)

Ingredients for the lemon syrup:
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 100g icing sugar

Ingredients for the lemon icing:
• 75g icing sugar (sieved)
• Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions:
• Preheat your oven 180C / 160C (fan) / Gas Mark 4
• Butter and line a 450g loaf tin
• Make the sponge by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time along with a little of the flour (this stops your mixture splitting) add the lemon zest , beat well. Add the remaining flour, fold in gently but thoroughly, followed by the milk. Spoon mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for approx. 45 mins (ovens vary so do keep an eye on it!) it should be golden, risen and a skewer (or knife) when inserted should come out clean. If you find it is browning too quickly you can place a piece of foil over the top.
• While your cake is baking, make the lemon syrup by adding the lemon juice and icing sugar to a small saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
• When your cake is baked remove from the oven and puncture the top of the cake all over (use a skewer, knife of long pronged fork). Pour over the syrup ensuring it covers the top of the cake evenly, don’t worry your cake will absorb all the syrup like a sponge!
• Leave your cake to cool completely before removing the tin, don’t be impatient!
• Once the cake is cold, carefully remove from the tin and place on a plate.
• Make the lemon icing by sieving the icing sugar into a bowl and bit by bit adding lemon juice until a smooth, thick (but still pourable) icing is made, you may not use all the lemon juice or you may need to add a little boiling water to slacken if not enough. Drizzle the icing over the cake however you wish, let the icing set then enjoy!

For more inspiration on planning your own party, or to donate to life-changing charities, please visit ngs.org.uk/gardenparty/.

Summer sizzlers

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June heralds the start of summer and that means one thing – spending time in the garden with your nearest and dearest with a drink in one hand and a burger in the other, enjoy!

Can there be anything better than enjoying lazy summer days in the company of friends and family soaking up the sun’s rays while sipping something cool and refreshing in your garden?

With the image in your head and before you reach for another ice cube to plonk in that drink, there’s some prep to do.

There’s something special about sitting out eating on your patio or decking that feels almost luxurious, perhaps thoughts of sun-soaked holidays are in your mind, so how to recreate that at home.*

Imagine your outdoor space is another room in your home, the lawn is the carpet, plants the decoration, you get the idea so just as you’d fashion your indoor space why not do the same outdoors with a few additions / exceptions / tweaks.

The biggest difference of course, is that you are outdoors so top priority has to be shelter or a shade of some variety to allow for the vagaries of the great British weather. We all know how unpredictable it can be but don’t let that deter you and yours from dining al fresco. Shades, sails and awnings have become popular in recent years to add a stylish touch and are the ideal way to protect you from a shower and also to ward off excess heat. Depending on your home and garden, perhaps a pergola, gazebo or lean to is a more permanent option?

Bridge the gap between home and garden with a sleek, high quality, durable awning from Outashade. Available in a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary, they feature modern hard wearing fabrics and boast lightweight folding arms. Most awnings are motorised now, but they also offer manual operation for less frequent use. Outashade give you a shaded patio and a cool home – a winning formula. Visit outashade.com to view the full range of their products.

Don’t neglect your ‘flooring’ once you’ve dealt with the ‘ceiling’. A large colourful rug enhances the indoors out idea, hard wearing and weather resistant, they’ll add to the outdoor lounge look.

If it’s going to be a late night, you’ll need some well-thought out lighting to keep the party going – solar powered ones are a popular choice, from strings of fairy lights to lantern styles available in brilliant or warm white or add a splash of colour.

You’ve created your ‘room’ so now it’s time for the good stuff, bring on the food and drink. Perhaps you’re a stalwart fan of the original BBQ, no summer garden feast is complete without one, whether it’s the traditional kettle style, gas powered for cheats, or you’ve gone the whole hog and got a brick built one and talking of brick built additions, pizza ovens have grown in popularity over the past few years and with an endless array of toppings to choose from to conjure up your perfect pizza, why wouldn’t you?

If you’re in need of inspiration, head to Ascot Racecourse on July 20th and 21st for Smoke and Fire Festival where you can enjoy family fun with gourmet barbeque flavours from award-winning street food vendors and pop-up restaurants. Get up close with live fire and BBQ demos and smokers. Rides, workshops, a mini real ale and cider festival and live music all add to the entertainment.

If space allows and you really want to go all out then there’s no better way to really bring the indoors out than with an outdoor kitchen, guaranteed to add the wow factor.

Storage space is a useful addition so you can leave some utensils there permanently and of course, the obligatory chef’s apron, while a fresh herb garden will enhance the flavours of your food for extra special finishing touches.

You can’t enjoy the full al fresco experience without a drink, outdoor bars became all the rage during that time a few years ago when we couldn’t go out but as long as you’ve got plenty of ice you’ll be doing fine.

Family-run Bourne Buildings in Farnham supply quality garden buildings of all structures, designs and styles fit for all budgets and all gardens. From sheds, greenhouses and playhouses to garden offices, summerhouses, workshops and garden bars, there’s sure to be a building that’s perfect for your garden and your needs. How about an open-sided structure where you can dine looking out over your garden to enjoy the summer fun. See what’s on offer at Bourne Buildings Ltd

There’s a great summer of sport ahead of us with the Euros from June 14th to July 14th, swiftly followed by the Olympics, July 26th to August 11th, and you won’t want to miss a minute so how about adding a big screen to complete your entertaining?

Of course, there’ll be times when you just want someone else to do the entertaining so make the most of our wonderful local pubs in the summer and chill out in one of their gardens with a beer or the quintessential summer drink, a Pimm’s.

* Sun not guaranteed!

Football needs to open up

Round & About

All Areas

Robbie James, has hung up microphone and presented his last Pompey Live radio show, but finds football leaves him with a sour taste

Football’s left me with an overarching sadness that a game with such a platform, can be closing itself off to so many potential fans.

Sure, rugby union still grapples with red trousers and tan brogues, cricket has begun its long journey away from elitism, and golf might still shout at you for not wearing a shirt and tie in the clubhouse; but football has more to sort than just awful haircuts.

I recently presented my final Pompey Live. Hosting a radio show across multiple platforms covering Portsmouth Football Club has been how I’ve spent most Saturdays for the last three winters. I’m proud of the many things we’ve achieved in that time, especially the increase in coverage of the women’s game and the number of female voices we’ve had on air.

It felt like the right time to leave. There’s other stuff I want to do (like eat cheese) and Portsmouth’s men and women won themselves promotion to the second tier of English football, so it felt like a natural moment to give it to someone else.

Having had some time to reflect, I feel sad and surprised at the sport as a whole.

My experience hosting that show was largely so much fun. Live sport is one of the world’s great thrills, and I will never get bored of broadcasting any kind of live sporting event. It also presented itself with some…be diplomatic Robbie, be diplomatic…interesting happenings.

When it was announced that I was going to become the new face of Pompey Live, the buzz quickly turned to eye rolls and many ‘’oh for fff’’ mutterings when photos of FOURTEEN year old me at a Southampton match emerged. A human with zero hobbies had found their way into my private Facebook account.

For context, Portsmouth and Southampton are notorious rivals, and have been for many a year. Thus ‘’he’s a Southampton fan!!!’’ (or a ‘’scummer’’, as is the noun chosen by Portsmouth fans…something I’ve been referred to more times than my actual name) became the overriding narrative, and quickly spiralled out of control.

This was an unfortunate start for everyone involved, but also the first glimpse I got into the devastating lack of empathy some football fans choose to possess. It was the catalyst which lit a fire that burned for my entire tenure, including false narratives, and some of the worst verbal abuse I could’ve ever imagined, including death threats to me and even more tragically, my colleagues.

I was a 14-year-old boy at a Southampton match. I loved sport. I also attended Portsmouth matches at that age. If someone offered me a ticket to a local game of tiddlywinks on a Wednesday evening I’d take it (providing there were walk on songs). Naturally, you cheer for the team that everyone else around you is supporting. Aside from some short spells of pretending to be invested in a team for the purposes of playground conversation, I’ve never really been devoted to any football team other than AFC Richmond (if you know, you know. If you don’t, watch Ted Lasso).

Football hides behind a giant wall with we’re the most popular sport in the world plastered across it. And it is. But it’s also the snobbiest sport. You must like this team if you live here but you can’t like that team if you live there. You mustn’t be happy for these people and if you are, you’re a traitor. You must take this rivalry seriously. Oh, and you must shout at the referee for doing their job. Is it any wonder that non-football fans respond with ‘’I can’t stand football’’ when asked for their take on the match last night!? It’s Marmite-esque, and I can see why. It doesn’t welcome you in and say ‘’here’s a fun thing you might like, consume it in any way you wish and don’t feel like it needs to be taken too seriously, we’re just here for a nice time’’. Complete nonsense.

The response to challenging any of the above seems to always be met with the same dispiriting line…that’s just football fans for you. Isn’t lambasting opposition players and fans maybe something we should look to cut out? Ah that’s just football fans for you. Why do we normalise derogatory chants towards the referee? Well that’s just football fans for you. Why, when you look around a stadium, do you struggle to set eyes on anyone but a white male? That’s just football fans for you. It’s not a welcoming environment for anyone who isn’t already in it.

I’ll also caveat the above by saying there are great people in football, and I had some lovely interactions. Not everyone who attends The Beautiful Game is there to abuse, or buy into football culture. I’m also aware my experience is nuanced, and Portsmouth still possesses an island mentality (yes, even in 2024 with the M27).

I’d need to make a lot of phone calls, read around 43 journals, and write a three hundred page book if I were to dissect tribalism and distinguish the way in which it’s weaved its way into football’s tapestry; but I can’t be bothered to do that and I have cheese to eat. In a very simple sense, it feels like this sport hasn’t even come close to catching up with the modern world, which I’m desperate for it to do.