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Summer Holiday fun for kids

Sam Bertram

6 July 2018

School’s out for some and not far off for others so time to start planning how to fill those long summer holidays. Here’s a roundup on what’s on in Wiltshire for kids this summer.   Theatre, Circus & the arts Kick off the summer with some open air theatre at Marlborough College Summer School on Tuesday 17th July.  Illyria presents The Adventures of Dr Doolittle (also at Lacock on 27th July). A funny, much-loved and exciting adventure, with a strong message about responsibility towards animals and the environment.  If you miss that there’s more open theatre later in the summer. Peter Pan at Lydiard Park on Friday 24th August & Alice Adventures in Wonderland at Lacock on Thursday 30th August. Devizes International street festival on 26th and 27th August has lots of street acts to keep the kids entertained.  Head to the Ragroof Players workshop to learn Charleston, Tango, Hand Jive, Night Fever, Salsa, Gangnam or Floss or watch them do 100 years of dance crazes in 100 minutes. The fabulous Giffords Circus returns to Marlborough Common from 31st August to 10th September – a firm family favourite. Don’t miss getting tickets for David Walliams at the Marlborough Literature festival at end of September. Tickets will sell out fast for this one.   Keen cooks in the family? The Farm Cookery School in Bromham is absolutely fabulous and they’ve got courses for kids throughout the summer. If you’re children are keen bakers why not get in touch with The Baking Chambers to see what bread and pizza making courses they’ve got planned?   Summer School Keep the kids entertained at Marlborough College Summer School, there’s something for everyone– on for the next four weeks until 3rd August. There are still some spaces so not too late to book.   Explore some of our national treasures As always both National Trust and English Heritage have plenty of fun for the family. Visit the magnificent Stourhead and, from 26th July, pick up a game pack so you and your family can play this life size version of a classic board game to 'get rich quick' around the house and garden. Families will have to get silly to earn the money to buy their favourite parts of Stourhead. Find out what medicines the abbey nuns grew 800 years ago on Healing Herbs Family Trail at Lacock until 2nd September. The ever popular Joust! Tournament & Melee returns to Old Sarum on Sunday 26th to Monday 27th August. Avebury has lots of fun planned for the summer with trails and spotter sheets, archaeology afternoons where kids can take part in a mini dig and a West Kennet Long Barrow burial or curate their own miniature museum.  For sporty types they’re holding Sports Day weekends throughout August or pop in for one of their Children’s yoga sessions. The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has lots of fun with Prehistoric sea monsters on Wednesday 8th August, Snakes and the Rainforest on Wednesday 15th August, Tudor crafts on Wednesday 22nd August and Pirates and the Sea on Wednesday 29th August.   Outdoor Fun Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has scavenger hunts at Widbrook Wood, Bradford on Avon on 8th August and Lower Moor Farm, Oaksey on 9th August. There’s also lots of fun by the lake at Lower Moor Farm for the w/c 20th August. The adventure playground at Bowood House is a firm family favourite or head to Wilton House for their equally good playground & paddle in the river when the heat gets too much. Westbury has some Inflatable fun dayz on 21st and 22nd July. There’s a picnic in the park and a free family fun day in Victoria Park Salisbury on Wednesday 29th August & family fun days at Lydiard Park on 14th and 15th July.  If your kids are animal lovers there’s also the Dog Bark Show on 5th August.   Fairs & Festivals For a lovely family friendly festival head to Festival on the Farm in Purton from 3rd to 5th August or Figgle Fest – a free day of family fun held in Fighledean on 7th July. For some classic countryside - stunt shows and sheepdog displays pop in to The Wessex Country Fair on Sunday 5th August. Little kids will be over the moon to visit Tractor Ted digger & dumpers weekend at Bowood on 17th and 18th August.

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2018 New Year bucket List

Sam Bertram

31 December 2017

Here’s our suggestions on some resolutions & what you should be aiming to see & do in 2018 to make the most of this beautiful county. Plan for one a quarter and you’ll find it incredibly achievable and rewarding! 1. Our environment is in a fragile state but it’s not that hard to all do our bit to help. You can reduce your impact on the environment - use less plastic - buy beeswax wraps, take your coffee cup with you to avoid using disposable coffee cups, buy bamboo straws, wooden toothbrushes. Buy produce from local companies rather than supermarkets to avoid all the supermarket packaging.  Local Devizes company Meadow in my Garden make wild flower seed mixes that encourage pollinators to gardens and sell animal homes for some of our precious wildlife. You don’t need to have a big garden for wild flowers & they not only look stunning but also help our busy bees, butterflies and ladybirds. They’re also looking for volunteers to help fill public spaces with wild flowers. Get in touch if you think you can help. 2. Look at your grocery list and think what you can source locally – there’s so much fabulous food & drink available right here in Wiltshire. Visit your local butcher or become a regular at a Wiltshire Farmers Market so that local always makes its way onto your table. We are also setting up a Food Assembly in Marlborough putting locals in touch with local food so sign up to hear when it launches. You shop local produce online and go to the same venue every week to pick it up. If you feel like a tipple look no further than The Wiltshire liqueur Company – also fabulous ingredients for any recipe. It not only supports your local economy but when it hasn’t travelled it’s better for the environment and tastes better too! 3. Experience some of the amazing pubs & restaurants in the county - It’s important to support your local pub & restaurant, but once in a while it’s worth going further afield.  In Wiltshire we have The Good Food Guide’s best dining pub in the country - The Michelin Starred Red Lion, East Chisenbury.  Winner of the Wiltshire Life best pub in the county in 2017 is The Swan in Enford. Don't miss The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn described by Tom Parker Bowles as ‘Three steps to foodie heaven’ & recently featured in The Telegraph as one of Britain's cosiest pubs, The George & Dragon in Rowde with their fabulous seafood & rustic luxurious rooms with a touch of Soho House, The Michelin starred Harrow at Little Bedwyn which has been AA and Decanter’s Restaurant of the Year amongst other accolades, and The Wheatsheaf Chilton Foliat where local sourcing is at the heart and was recently shortlisted in The Sustainable Restaurant Association's Food Made Good Awards. For a casual lunch or for the best coffee try the lovely Sticks & Stones in their lifestyle shop in Woodborough. For a healthy treat pop into the Cafe at Well Natural in Salisbury. 4. Regular bracing walks are a great way to stay fit. Visit a new part of the Wiltshire countryside & walk somewhere new – there are stunning walks from the North Wessex Downs to the Nadder Valley. Our members have lots of top tips on things to do – whether it’s walking the ancient Ridgeway, an invigorating walk across Salisbury Plain or a walk around Fonthill Lake near Tisbury you’ll be pleased you ventured there.  5. Look after yourself. Our wellbeing members will help you get on the right track in the New Year.  Love Food in Marlborough is launching Love Food to go - healthy nutritional meals for delivery and Nordic Walking instructor Ashley Sandy can help you get fit and have fun while exploring the beautiful outdoors and is offering ski fit classes to get you ready for the slopes. If you know someone struggling with life encourage them to try new things - dance psychotherapist Gyidance might be able to help. 6. Make it to at least one of Wiltshire’s events or festivals. Racehorses have been trained in Wiltshire for over a Century so have fun watching Barbury Races – a great day out for all the family. Kick off your shoes at a music festival or there are plenty of Arts Festivals around the county - Salisbury, Trowbridge & Devizes and fabulous theatre at Illford Arts Festival near Bradford on Avon. Marlborough have a literature festival & there are plenty of Food & Drink Festivals throughout the summer. See our events calendar. 7. Take in one of our national treasures – Stourhead near Mere is the second most visited National Trust Property. However, there are plenty more to choose from – Avebury (the ‘better’ stone circle), Lacock Abbey, Wardour Castle near Tisbury, Great Chalfield Manor and Garden (featured in ‘Wolf Hall’), The Courts Garden in Holt or Old Sarum near Salisbury.  And don’t forget the marvellous Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey or Castle Combe, said by many to be the prettiest village in England or The Merchant's House in Marlborough to see how a wealthy 17th Century Merchant would have lived. 8. Learn something new - how often do you wish you could do something better? There are plenty of places offering courses – Marlborough College Summer School has every course you can imagine and it’s a fun way to spend a week. Organise a nutritional cookery course at your home with Love Food. 9. Don’t always default to Amazon – if you’re looking for a gift or new items for the home stop and think if you could buy from a small local company.  You’ll be amazed at the unique things available as well as how affordable they are too.  We have lots of gift ideas for both him and her so check those out before going global!  And lots of ideas for the home too. Here's to a fabulous 2018!

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2017 bucket list

Sam Bertram

4 January 2017

Here’s our suggestions on some resolutions & what you should be aiming to see & do in 2017 to make the most of this beautiful county. Plan for one a quarter and you’ll find it incredibly achievable and rewarding! 1. Our environment is in a fragile state but it’s not that hard to all do our bit to help. Local Devizes company Meadow in my Garden make wild flower seed mixes that encourage pollinators to gardens and sell animal homes for some of our precious wildlife. You don’t need to have a big garden for wild flowers & they not only look stunning but also help our busy bees, butterflies and ladybirds. They’re also looking for volunteers to help fill public spaces with wild flowers. Get in touch if you think you can help. 2. Look at your grocery list and think what you can source locally – there’s so much fabulous food & drink available right here in Wiltshire. Visit your local butcher or deli or become a regular at a Wiltshire Farmers Market so that local always makes its way onto your table. If you feel like a tipple look no further than The Wiltshire liqueur Company – also fabulous ingredients for any recipe. It not only supports your local economy but when it hasn’t travelled it’s better for the environment and tastes better too! 3. Experience some of the amazing pubs & restaurants in the county - It’s important to support your local pub & restaurant, but once in a while it’s worth going further afield.  In Wiltshire we have The Good Food Guide’s best dining pub in the country - The Michelin Starred Red Lion, East Chisenbury.  Recently shortlisted in the top 3 for Wiltshire life’s best pub in the county is The Swan in Enford. Don't miss The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn described by Tom Parker Bowles as ‘Three steps to foodie heaven’, The George & Dragon in Rowde with their fabulous seafood & rustic luxurious rooms with a touch of Soho House, AP McCoy’s pub The Outside Chance, The Michelin starred Harrow at Little Bedwyn which has been AA and Decanter’s Restaurant of the Year amongst other accolades, and The Pear Tree in Purton, The Good Hotel Guide’s Best Country Hotel in 2015. For a casual lunch try the lovely Sticks & Stones in their lifestyle shop in Woodborough. 4. Regular bracing walks are a great way to stay fit. Visit a new part of the Wiltshire countryside & walk somewhere new – there are stunning walks from the North Wessex Downs to the Nadder Valley. Our members have lots of top tips on things to do – whether it’s walking the ancient Ridgeway, a dog walk on Old Drover's Road, an invigorating walk across Salisbury Plain or a walk on the Roman Road in Grovely Woods or around Fonthill Lake near Tisbury you’ll be pleased you ventured there.  5. Look after yourself. We’re launching a wellbeing section in a couple of weeks time so keep an eye out but in the meantime if you’re keen to eat better (not less but just more of the right kind of food) Love Food has fabulous nutritional cookery courses which teach you how to eat well and feel good and are bound to set you on the right track. 6. Make it to at least one of Wiltshire’s events or festivals. Racehorses have been trained in Wiltshire for over a Century so have fun watching Barbury Races – a great day out for all the family. Kick off your shoes at a music festival or there are plenty of Arts Festivals around the county - Salisbury, Trowbridge & Devizes and fabulous theatre at Illford Arts Festival near Bradford on Avon. Marlborough have a literature festival & there are plenty of Food & Drink Festivals throughout the summer. See our events calendar. 7. Take in one of our national treasures – Stourhead near Mere is the second most visited National Trust Property. However, there are plenty more to choose from – Avebury (the ‘better’ stone circle), Lacock Abbey, Wardour Castle near Tisbury, Great Chalfield Manor and Garden (featured in ‘Wolf Hall’), The Courts Garden in Holt or Old Sarum near Salisbury.  And don’t forget the marvellous Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey or Castle Combe, said by many to be the prettiest village in England or The Merchant's House in Marlborough to see how a wealthy 17th Century Merchant would have lived. 8. Learn something new - how often do you wish you could do something better? There are plenty of places offering courses – Marlborough College Summer School has every course you can imagine and it’s a fun way to spend a week. Wagon Yard Artists have fantastic ceramic courses and Delushious Home Comforts in Devizes offers cookery courses for adults & children. 9. Don’t always default to Amazon – if you’re looking for a gift or new items for the home stop and think if you could buy from a small local company.  You’ll be amazed at the unique things available as well as how affordable they are too.  We have lots of gift ideas for both him and her so check those out before going global!  And lots of ideas for the home too. 10. Finally Christmas isn’t the only time to look after your loved ones. Contact and visit them regularly. Everyone loves to receive a card and Simply Bluebell does wonderful greeting cards by local rural artists. Receiving flowers puts a smile on everyone’s face and Pod & Pip do wonderful natural flowers with handwritten note that can be sent anywhere in the UK. Here's to a fabulous 2017!

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Get Creative at Mimo

Sam Bertram

12 February 2016

Mimo is a lovely interiors shop that’s a little bit different from the mainstream, just a short walk from Marlborough High Street in The Old Ropeworks near the river. Owner Sally Ballard has also recently started running creative workshops there to great success.   Tell us a bit about how you ended up having a shop like Mimo? ‘With a background in antiques and interior design Mimo is a shop where I make the things I love & collect for the home available to the public.  It’s full of vintage, restored and quirky pieces.  I love seeing my regular customers popping by to make sure they’re not missing out on any treasures! It all started shortly after embarking on my working life when I was a nanny for some amazing people, whom I’m still great friends with today.  They introduced me to friends starting an interior design business being run alongside an antiques business and, although initially I just helped out, I eventually took over the admin side /  project management. This led to a further job with another antiques dealer running the interior design side & eventually opening my own shop in the Cotswolds shortly after meeting my ex-husband. My first shop was short-lived though as children arrived soon after, not helped by a rather gloomy recession. Now my children are older – Alex, 22 and Will, 20, I’ve had time to focus on having my own business again and I set-up Mimo in 2011.  Gary from Eric’s Attic initially offered me space in his shop to sell my collection but when the space came available downstairs I leapt at the opportunity to take it and set-up by myself. I’ve always had the idea of making one of the rooms available for creative courses.’   Interesting – what type of workshops are you offering? ‘I’ve always thought there was an opportunity to offer creative courses in Marlborough as Marlborough College Summer School is only for four weeks of the year and beyond that there didn’t seem to be much available of this type.  I’m an optimist by nature and I really felt there was potential to offer workshops in the centre of town. We’ve had some fabulous courses here so far, from upholstery to sewing & dressmaking and plenty of arty courses for both adults and children alike. I’ve loved the mosaics courses, and in particular the floristry, creative writing and Christmas Wreath workshops were incredibly popular. Next planned is an Arts & Crafts workshop for kids during half term and an upholstery weekend at the end of February both which still have places so get in quick! I’m always open to ideas so if someone has something they’d love to learn or love to teach I’ll do my best to make it happen.’   Are you Wiltshire born and bred? ‘Not at all – I was born in Oxford where I lived and attended college and my mother still lives there. It was a fabulously buzzy & exciting place to grow up although I’ve moved so many times since I’ve almost lost count of the places I’ve lived.  The first antiques business I worked in was in Woburn, after marrying Nick we lived in various places in the Cotswolds and eventually moved to Ramsbury just fore Will was born and where the boys spent their childhood.  I now live right in the middle of Marlborough and I’m loving it.  It’s great being right in the middle of town and Marlborough has so much character.  As my boys have left home for work and uni it’s mainly just me and my dog, Monty.’    So what’s planned for the future? Just enjoying where I live and my business for now.  But what will be will be – I don’t mind moving, so if I had to move again I would. But for now Mimo isn’t going anywhere soon. I love meeting new people so please pop in and say hi. http://www.mimo-trading.com/  

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