Star Q&A: Andre Rieu

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Liz Nicholls asks international classical music champion & dad Andre Rieu, 71, about life, love & music ahead of Together Again which comes to cinemas on 28th & 29th August.

Q. Your concerts look so joyful! How do you create that magic? “Wherever we play in the world, people start to dance when they hear The Blue Danube. Magicians use their wands, I have my violin and my bow. But there is also the joy I feel when I play my music. It’s real, and luckily, my fellow orchestra members share that joy and passion. And then there is this unmistakable interaction with my audience: we face them and they can see our faces too. You know, classical music has been composed for all of us – not only for the elite like some people tend to think. Johann Strauss, Mozart; they were pop stars in their own times. Music is my oxygen!”

Q. How have you coped over the last 16 months? “When a concert was over and we were travelling to our hotel, I used to watch baking tutorials on YouTube. So that’s what I’ve been doing: making cakes, pies and all kind of pastries for the street, haha! One of the most famous cake bakers in the Netherlands (Cees Holtkamp) gave me a masterclass on my birthday, that was a nice surprise! Nevertheless, I missed contact with my audience and my big family; that’s the nickname for all my fellow orchestra members. My saviours? My wife, our sons with their wives and our five gorgeous grandchildren. I am looking forward to touring and returning to the UK in 2022.”

Q. How did your father shape your path in life? “I was raised in a classical family. My father was a symphony orchestra conductor, all my brothers and sisters play one or more instruments, chosen by our mother. She thought the violin would suit me and she was right! No other instrument translates my inner feelings so well. My first violin teacher was an 18-year-old blonde girl with whom I instantly fell in love (I was five years old, haha!).”

Q. What’s the key to a happy marriage like yours with Marjorie? “The key to our blissful happiness is the 100% mutual trust, but also sharing the same sense of humour and giving the freedom the other needs. We’ve been married 47 years, we work together but we’re also still each other’s lovers. Most people forget but it’s important to enjoy life and laugh. In the Netherlands we have a saying: ‘Not having laughed one day is not having lived that same day’.”

Q. What surprising lessons have fatherhood, and being a grandpa, taught you? “Not a single day is the same as another. Try to enjoy every moment because your (grand) children grow quicker than you think. Besides that: freedom is the secret… they’ll come to you as a father or grandfather when they’ll need you. Last thing: I love to spoil my grandchildren once in a while…”

Q. Who would be your dream dinner party guests? “Walt Disney who said: ‘If you can dream it, you can do it!’ Next to him, the one and only true King of the Waltz: Johann Strauss. Albert Einstein because of his knowledge about the universe: Jules Verne and Columbus.”

Q. What wish would you grant the world? “World peace. Not to fight for, let’s say, one year. Try to make music… more fun than weapons!”

For tickets please visit andreincinemas.com

Tell us your local news here

Wine & mind

Karen Neville

Oxfordshire

Learn some simple mindfulness strategies to boost your performance at work and home while you enjoy a glass of wine

Former female RAF helicopter pilot Sarah Furness is bringing Winefulness, a combination of business and mindfulness over a glass of wine, to Henley on 15th July.

Afghanistan veteran Sarah will be presenting her new concept of Winefulness, uniting her unique management experience under fire and mindfulness over a glass of wine to local business leaders at Henley’s world leading Oaken Grove vineyard. She will be joined by the Daily Mail’s wine correspondent, Olly Smith, who will be leading the wine-tasting.

Sarah uses her training in Military Grade Mindfulness to help business professionals use mindfulness techniques and to reach their potential whatever their circumstances. She says that her Winefulness taster day will be the ideal place for busy professionals to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into their routine, whilst doing the things they love.

Sarah also runs Winefulness Wednesdays every last Wednesday of the month at Oaken Grove. This is an opportunity for people to hear about how the brain works and how to apply simple mindfulness strategies into their daily lives …. all brought to you through the experience of wine-tasting.

Oaken Grove Vineyard is a family-run boutique vineyard, nestling in the Chiltern Hills surrounded by ancient woodland, offering a range of award-wining wines. The seven acres of vines produce exceptional still and sparkling wines.

In addition to Sarah’s Winefulness Wednesdays, Oaken Grove also holds pop up restaurants and jazz on a Sunday afternoon. On Friday evenings and Saturdays the terrace is open to enjoy a glass of wine with local cheese and charcuterie.

To find out more and to book click here

Tell us your local news here

Instil Design runs for award

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Martina Landhed, from Oxford business InStil Design Ltd, has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious kbbreview Retail & Design Awards for the third time.

This time in the category; Bathroom Designer of the Year, projects costing over £25,000 category. The kbbreview Retail & Design Awards are a celebration of the very best retailers, designers and manufacturers in the kitchen and bathroom industry nationwide, celebrating their 27th year in 2021.

InStil Design Ltd Managing Director Martina said: “Being announced as a finalist among several hundreds of national designers is fantastic news, and I am delighted to be down to the final four.

“My desire is to always inspire and help my clients to realise the potential in their bathrooms. I aim to take their dreams and turn them into reality, whilst offering as personal service as possible.”

Martina has previously won the kbbreview Award Bathroom Designer of the year 2013, project costing up to £10k, and in 2017 Bathroom Designer of the year project cost £10 to £25k. She’s been running InStil Design with her knowledgeable and service-minded team from a boutique style showroom just outside Oxford since 2013.

The next stage of the 2021 competition sees the finalists present their designs via video presentation to the KBB panel of judges who will then determine who has best met the competition brief. The criteria include aesthetics, problem solving, product and material choice, uniqueness of idea, design initiative, and value for money.

The winner will be announced at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2021 event that this year will take place on September 15th at Liverpool’s St Georges Hall, and promises to be the biggest industry post-lockdown party of the year.


Share your local stories with us here

Take five….

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Top tips for creating your home gym. We’ve teamed up with Morgan Beilby of local design and fit-out specialists Velvaere Studios to help you create the perfect home/work balance.

1) Make sure your space will function as a home gym

Avoid the mistake of a “room full of equipment” rather than a home gym. Carefully design your gym so that it allows for an effective work- out.

Many aspects can be overlooked but it’s the attention to detail that enables the user to experience the full benefits of a home gym.

For example; is your gym ‘zoned’ correctly, with separation between the strength and cardio area?
Is your gym flooring located in the right place?

Is there enough space behind your cardio equipment and are sockets in the right place to avoid trailing leads?
Are your mirrors located in the best position?
Is your bench and squat rack directly under any lights that are affecting your vision?

Our design service at Velvaere Studios enables clients to visualise their space, focusing on the details to make it perfect in every way.

Our design team use the latest design tools to assist our clients from initial concept to the equipment layout and final design finishes.

2) Does the space inspire you?

Once the fundamentals of design are established to enable your home gym to function properly, we can then work with you to personalise the space. We believe that a home gym should be designed to promote wellbeing and a sense of inspiration. The choice of wall and floor finishes, the mood created by the lighting and the atmosphere from air quality to fragrance will all contribute to the energy within the room.

3) Does the equipment match your fitness and lifestyle needs?

It is essential that the equipment you choose is the equipment you will use.
If your goal is to build muscle then you would want to focus on investing in strength equipment such as dumbbells and other free weights rather than cardio pieces such as a treadmill. You might like the idea of a treadmill, but you may still want to go for runs outside with your running partner so the equipment focus should be on the equipment you will most use.

We will help you to focus on selecting the equipment for your home gym which best suits your workout and lifestyle needs.

At Velvaere we provide a whole range of health and fitness equipment, to meet the needs of all training requirements. We create a solution for every space, ranging from a single set of dumbbells through to a full home gym set up.

We partner with world leading equipment manufacturers and will produce proposals to fit your budget.

4) Find the right space

Do you have a spare room or suitable space that can be repurposed? Many people convert their garages, spare rooms, basements and lofts etc. and it may be possible to make a room flexible in its use. It is important though to design it first before you go ahead and assume that it is suitable.

It may be possible to extend your home or a very popular option is to consider using a garden building. Again, you can re-purpose an existing building but often a better solution is a new purpose designed garden building. Companies such as our partners, Green Retreats, (https://www.greenretreats.co.uk/upgrades-to-the-bucks-showroom/ ) provide an efficient and effective way to expand your home to include a home gym where the building structure and amenities such as windows, doors and heating are all included in the price. Velvaere Studios then provide the interior fit out of the garden rooms with fitness equipment and specialist finishes that will transform your space into a fully fitted and perfectly functioning garden room gym specialist finishes.

5) Quality is key

Your home gym should be built to last. It’s a place to go to improve and feel better so both the interior fit out and the fitness equipment inside should reflect this. A home gym is an investment in yours and your family’s health, happiness and wellbeing. Your home gym needs to be a place that inspires you and the quality of equipment and finishes will all contribute. A quality home gym is much more than about how it looks, it’s about how it makes you feel.

At Velvaere Studios we work with world leading manufacturers such as Technogym and Life Fitness and our design and fit- out team has many years of experience of working on high quality projects .

The Velvaere one- stop service home gym fit-out service makes it easy and stress free for you.

We completely take it off your hands and create stunning home gyms that are designed and fitted out to not only function properly but to look and feel great so that you can too !

We would love to hear from you and to see how we can help to create your ideal home gym.

Visit www.velvaerefit.com, follow @velvaerestudios on Instagram, email or call 07580 155596

Shakespeare & St George’s Day

Round & About

Oxfordshire

“Cry God for Harry, England and St George..!” Pit your wits against our Which William quiz in honour of Shakespeare & St George’s Day

We’re wishing you a happy St George’s Day & happy birthday to William Shakespeare with a Bard quiz from Guildford Shakespeare Company (GSC) who still have tickets for their live-streamed performance of Henry V this weekend.

Book in for HENRY V: live online, written by William Shakespeare & adapted & directed by Caroline Devlin from today until Sunday at various times. The cast brings together a collection of the company’s best-known actors including Paula James, Chris Porter, Emily Tucker, GCS founder Matt Pinches and Gavin Fowler. Matt tells us: “We are thrilled to have such a fabulous cast for this special retelling of Henry V, and Caroline’s inspiring 2014 production. This production, with the play’s own homage to theatre, will be a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of our industry, as well as a celebration of all that we love about the theatrical experience. The play also carries a unique message of hope that the impossible is possible, a sentiment that has never felt more poignant than in our recent times.”

Tickets are £20 – book at www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk/Henry-5-online

As they celebrate their 15th birthday, the Guildford Shakespeare Company also kick off their return to the stage with the irresistible comedy She Stoops To Conquer, in the gardens of Guildford Castle, 17th June to 3rd July.

We have teamed up with GSC founder Matt to offer you the following Which William? quiz to test your knowledge against!

Which William?

Willy Wonka, Will.I.Am or William Shakespeare..? You might find it harder than you expected to establish which famous William said the following lines…

1 Every man dies, but not every man truly lives

2 There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so

3 The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together

4 When our memories outweigh our dreams, we’ve grown old

5 Better three hours too soon than a minute late.

6 Only the good die young

7 Can you practice what you preach
Or would you turn the other cheek

8 Love sought, is good; but given unsought, is better

9 We know what we are, but know not what we may be

10 There’s no such thing as the unknown, only things temporarily hidden

#BlossomWatch

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Celebrate the UK’s first ever #BlossomWatch day in Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire

The National Trust is urging people to use the longer, warmer days of spring and come together on social media to share their pictures as part of the charity’s first ever nationwide #BlossomWatch Day, Saturday, 24th April.

In Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire, some of the best places to enjoy blossom include Hughenden, Cliveden, Stowe, Greys Court and Basildon Park.

As restrictions ease and loved ones can finally start to meet outside, the conservation charity is urging people to use the easing of restrictions to share in one of nature’s most magnificent natural spectacles.

People are being asked to share pictures of blossom on social media on April 24th using the #BlossomWatch. And by tagging their location, an interactive digital map (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch) will chart the progress of blossom across the country.

The Trust’s Garden’s and Parks Consultant for London and the South East, Emma McNamara, says: “Blossom season is advancing apace, but we’ve had some frost damage recently from the low overnight temperatures. Magnolia and camellia blossom have been affected by this, burning the flowers at Greys Court and Basildon Park, which means they drop quickly. This highlights the fleeting nature and beauty of blossom. However, fruit trees such as apple, pear and cherry will be blooming in late April and early May in the orchards at Hughenden and Cliveden, buzzing with insect life pollinating for fruits later in the year.”

Blossomwatch is also a chance to indulge in the Japanese art of hanami whcih literally means “viewing blossoms”. Long ago, around the 7th century, when the Japanese talked about “hana” they were referring mainly to plum blossoms. But years later, “hana” has come to mean cherry blossoms. And now Hanami means “going out to enjoy cherry blossoms.” It is one of the most featured images in Japanese art and literature.

Junko Shimizu, Founder of the Amenity 2000 Association, says: “Cherry blossoms are the sign of spring. They tell us cold winter is gone, to take off heavy coats. People are eager to get this sign. This year cherry blossoms are slower to bloom than usual.”

For further information, inspiration and to donate towards the charity’s tree planting ambitions visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch

Walk this way!

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Chilterns Walking Festival is back from 22nd May to 6th June with more than 80 guided walks to enjoy

The Chilterns Conservation Board is delighted to announce that the Chilterns Walking Festival, sponsored by Brakspear, is back with an impressive programme of outdoor events.

The walks will help people explore the landscape, villages, nature and heritage of the Chilterns. The activities and events are designed to appeal to different age groups, interests and levels of fitness. Whether you are interested in sampling local drinks and produce, finding out about the history of the Chilterns heritage, or trying out a new activity or experience with your family, there is something for everyone.

Here is a taster of what is to come:

• Health & Wellbeing: We are offering a number of events from Nordic walk taster sessions and mindfulness walks, to gentle Nature Connectedness sessions, challenging trail run or a beautiful 25 mile walk around the Chess Valley.

• Family Friendly:  From woodland adventures and bushcraft events to storytelling, toddler toddle and nature-spotting walks, there are many activities perfect for getting outdoors and spending quality time with the family.

• Explore and Discover: The Chilterns is brimming with history and heritage and with so many places to explore it is no surprise that there are many walks offering the chance to discover more about our rich heritage and precious ancient landscapes. Why not step back in time with a Hedgerley Deep Time Walk or costumed Tudor walk, explore some old drovers routes, enjoy a George Orwell or Charles Dickens literary tour or some local produce tasting.

• Learn and Do: Whether it’s mastering tree identification, practicing map and compass navigation, or having a go at Nordic walking, there are lots of opportunities to get involved and try something new.

Chilterns Conservation Board People & Society Officer Annette Venters said: “After months of lockdown we are delighted to be offering such a full programme of events. It will be a chance to explore and enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Chilterns in small groups, led by experienced guides”.

For details of all guided walks, events and activities, which must be booked, please visit visitchilterns.co.uk/walkingfest. Most are free of charge, though some require a small fee which is clearly shown. To assist walk leaders with expected numbers, most events must be pre-booked. There has already been lots of interest, and numbers are limited for Covid compliance, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Decor delights

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Treat yourself to a day out and some shopping at Henley Decor Fair over the late bank holiday weekend 27th to 31st May 2021

Gary Wallis Reality TV star of The Restoration Workshop, UKTV Yesterday channel, is bringing back The Henley Décor Fair to Henley-on-Thames, held over this May Bank Holiday. Located by the Riverside in Henley-on-Thames RG9 3AP. Situated between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames, opposite the temple Island Henley Royal Regatta start.

This is no ordinary Antique and Decorative Salvage Fair, Gary has combined his love of all things decorative with live musical entertainment and fabulous food to create a lifestyle festival of all things that inspire us all!!

The event has a vibe like no other and having such a picturesque riverside location is simply a bonus.

With over 150 of the top UK traders, including Antiques, reclaimed items, art, one off design pieces, bronzes, decorative mirrors, lighting, fireplaces, garden statuary, vintage fashion, leather jackets and quirky items not found on the high street to classic boats, cars and motorbikes.

Antique celebrities from Salvage Hunters: The Restorers will be on hand to give advice. Plus, featured experts from the show Restoration Workshop Stitch and Twine and Zinc Décor will have items from the TV series on display and for sale.

Something for Everyone!

BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW at www.henleydecorfair.com

EVENT TIMES
THURSDAY 27th MAY 8.30AM TRADE ONLY DAY
FRIDAY 28th MAY 10.00AM to 6.00PM
SATURDAY 29th MAY 10.00AM to 11.00PM
SUNDAY 30th MAY 10.00AM to 9.00PM
MONDAY 31st MAY 10.00AM to 5.00PM

Putting children’s wellbeing first: Inside Out

Karen Neville

Oxfordshire

Inside Out is an education charity based in Reading focussed on improving children’s wellbeing.

Children’s mental health and wellbeing have never been so high on the school agenda. Teachers have never been under so much pressure, managing daily change.

To help teachers and parents with the current, flexible approach to schooling, they have developed a ‘Wellbeing Guide’ based on their 5 Keys to Happiness, the equivalent of 5 fruit and veg a day for your mental health.

This is a free resource for schools, teachers and families packed with inspiration and activities to boost children’s happiness and wellbeing. These resources will now help ease the long-awaited transition back to school.

There is a wealth of information and resources out there but it’s often confusing and hard to know where to start. The Wellbeing Guides are full of activities that are simple, fun and quick-to-use, at home or school.

The Guide offers fun, simple ideas and resources for children, whether they are currently being educated at home or in school with a new edition shared each week during lockdown. Please see attached pdf of the latest edition, which includes a 5 Keys to Happiness poster for parents to print out and use at home.

For more wellbeing inspiration, why not follow INSIDE OUT on Facebook and twitter or visit their website www.theinsideout.org.uk for all previous issues of the Wellbeing Guide.

Read about pop icon Billy Ocean and the Young Voices Choir’s charity single to help children’s mental health here.

Love local with fresh food boxes

Liz Nicholls

Oxfordshire

Love local! Fresh food delivery boxes so you can make restaurant-quality meals

Our hospitality industry has, of course, been brutally battered over the last 12 months. This is part of the reason we’re celebrating our food & drink heroes in our R&A Good Cheer Awards.

Crop To Kitchen is one of the many valiant businesses which has had to evolve to survive – and keep us well fed. Ordinarily, the team supply restaurants in London and the home counties – including Michelin-starred eateries and five-star hotels – from its Maidenhead base. These include iconic settings such as Cliveden House, the Hind’s Head and The Groucho Club.

MD Peter Codling says: “Like many, we have had to think on our feet. What was also important was that we helped the local farms and growers whose top produce was no longer needed by the trade. We wanted to avoid food waste and serve the community so they can enjoy great food at home.”

Their home delivery boxes, containing the finest ingredients, have won rave reviews. Customers can build their own order or choose a pre-selected box. As well as the best fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs, the Crop To Kitchen team also rose to the challenge in the first lockdown, sourcing items in short supply including fresh pasta. Foodies should also keep an eye on the website for new lines of produce, normally only supplied to the best restaurants, so that you can replicate the same level of excellence in your own meals.

The social media feed is filled with delicious recipe ideas. They offer free next-day delivery within a 10-mile radius, including Cookham, Bourne End, Burnham, Ascot, Slough, Windsor, Bray, Cookham Dean, Taplow, Bisham, Marlow, Henley and all the villages in between.

All orders are delivered in reusable and fully sanitised crates and plastic packaging is avoided when sourcing and delivering to fit the green ethos. The drivers pride themselves on meticulous presentation and comply with social distancing guidelines, using full PPE.

Crop To Kitchen also dreams big, with plans on the horizon including offering specific areas of land or poly tunnels for restaurants, once back on their feet, to grow their own bespoke produce. Peter is also going to rustle up some live-streaming nights featuring chef cook-alongs.

Get your box for Valentine’s Day – or to find out more, visit croptokitchen.co.uk.

We’ve teamed up to offer a box bundle to one lucky winner – watch this space for the competition which will go live at the start of March!

For some of our own recipe ideas, click here