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Festive Carols

Sam Bertram

29 November 2017

t’s really getting festive so we thought we’d ask around for people’s favourite carol singing & concerts happening around the county. Nothing gets you in the spirit quite like a good old sing song!   1. If you’re looking for a spectacular venue then head to Salisbury Cathedral for BBC Wiltshire carol service on Saturday 16th December at 5.00pm to 6.30pm or the Carols by Candlelight on 22nd & 23rd December at 7.00pm.    2. The popular Imber Festival of Carols at the deserted village of Imber on Salisbury Plain at 2.30pm on Saturday 23rd December. Places are limited to 250 so get your tickets early.   3. Enjoy carols in the beautiful surrounding of Malmesbury Abbey – the Youth Action Wiltshire Carol Service is on Friday 8th December at 7.00pm or  ‘Nine lessons & carols by candlelight’ on Sunday 17th December at 6.30pm.   4. Set in the stunning Marlborough College Chapel is a Christmas Carol Concert in aid of Hopes and Homes for Children. A great way to kick off the holiday – Saturday 16th December 4.00pm – 01672 562777 for tickets. Performers include the Great Bedwyn Millennium Choir, Blue Belles, Luana Godwin and Fiona MacArthur.     5. For a magical Christmas evening head to the Christmas Concert at St John's Church, Devizes on 16th December at 7.00pm. Raising money for Dorothy House it's a real mix of music and has something for everyone. Or for something more casual head down to The Southgate Inn on 18th December from 8.00pm for beers & carols. The Devizes Town band also plays carols in the Market Place on 2nd December from 10.00am to 1.00pm and at the Mayor's Carol Concert in the Corn Exchange on 6th December at 7.00pm. Both get you in the festive spirit.   6. If in Box there's an evening of carols, poems and fun readings called 'Celebration' at the Methodist Church in Box on Saturday 9th December at 7.30pm. There'll be a retiring collection for Wiltshire Sight.   7. If you're near Tisbury this free event at Messums Wiltshire sounds wonderful. On Friday 22nd December at 6.30pm leading sound artist John Del’ Nero and composer Orlando Gough are creating a soundscape about the history of Tisbury and the 13th century barn using sounds they have recorded locally. The piece will include speech and song along with natural and mechanical sound. Take part in a unique social and interactive event for all the family - The bar will be open for mulled wine, warm drinks and mince pies and there are carols by Tisbury Community Choir.   8. A visit to the beautiful stones of Avebury could be followed by a concert by Avebury Vocal Ensemble at St James on Sunday 10th December.   9. Join the Seend Singers at Cleeve House, Seend for Christmas Carols on Monday 11th December at 7.30pm in aid of Wiltshire Young Carers.   10. On Saturday 16th December the Rotary Club Concert is on at St Andrew's Church, Chippenham. Featuring the Colerne Military Wiltshire Wives Choir and the Wiltshire Police Band and hosted by Amanda Parr from BBC Points West. Tickets £10.   11. Pop into Pewsey Fire Station on Saturday 9th December for carols from 5.30pm to 7.00pm    12. The Military Wives Choir from Tidworth, Upavon and Warminster  perform 'Home for Christmas' as part of their UK tour at St Michael's Church Tidworth on December 16th at 7.30pm   13. The George & Dragon in Rowde are holding Christmas Carols on Sunday 17th December at 4.30pm    14. The Christmas Tree Festival Concert is full of carols at the Holy Trinity Church in Bradford on Avon at 7.30pm on Friday 8th December or head to St Margaret's Hall on 17th December at 6.00pm   15. In aid of Julia's House is the German Christmas Carol Evening on Wednesday 13th December, 7.00pm to 9.00pm at Southwick Village Hall.   Got some more suggestions? Contact us on Twitter or Facebook or email us on hello@localuncovered.com and we’ll add them in.

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Kids Christmas gifts galore

Sam Bertram

23 October 2017

Radish Loves is a children’s shop with a difference. Located just off Marlborough High Street it’s teeming with children’s clothes and unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else. We spoke to owner Amy Willsher to find out what she’s got in store for Christmas. What Christmas treats have you got for kids? ‘I think there’s a perception that we’re a baby shop which isn’t true. Our range has things for new-borns right up to young teenagers. We’ve got something for everybody – from stocking fillers to the bigger presents. If you’re looking for presents under £10 there’s plenty of choice. ‘Unicorn snot’ with its scented range of lip gloss and body glitters is new and already extremely popular. Girls love the pompom hair bands, clips, necklaces, bag brooches & pins. There are also fingers puppets and plenty of tattoos and stickers. The nail varnish is child-friendly and completely chemical free, and for the boys there are notebooks, spy pens, bouncy balls and yoyos, slimy slugs and lots more. I’ve started stocking a larger range of Maileg as it’s proving really popular. It’s a Danish brand with gorgeous bunnies and mice. It’s beautifully made with my favourite being The Princess and the Pea – a mouse sleeping on several mattresses with a pea hiding beneath. The mini furniture, clothing suitcases, tents and sleeping bags all fit for the mice are also fabulous. Another popular brand is Candylab cars - beautiful hand painted Beechwood classic American cars. They’re really fun with some quirky features like a magnetic surfboard which snaps on to the roof.  If looking to jazz up playrooms, nurseries or bedrooms Fiona Walker’s felt animals have just come instore. Whether it’s a dinosaur or flamingo head or hooks you can hang on wall they look great. Try a Little Lovely Co, ghost or popsicle bedroom light or some rainbow shelves to house the books. Hang a dream catcher on a child’s bedroom window to catch the bad dreams. And there’s plenty of glitz – furry, sparkly bags and glittery skirts and tutus. With winter encroaching we’ve got woolly jumpers, hats and scarves and plenty for that special Christmas outfit.’ Halloween is soon, what have you got planned? ‘We stock lots of party accessories and we’ve extended our party range to include Halloween. There are spooky cookie cutters, plates, cupcake cases and tattoos. On the Saturday before Halloween we’re holding an instore event from 12.00 to 3.00pm. There’ll be tattoos, balloon giveaways and a real-life fairy coming to visit. She’ll be granting wishes and telling stories. It should be great fun.’ And if people can’t come into the shop, they can shop online? ‘Yes, we’re an online shop too and we’ll also be at some other venues this Christmas. I’ve got a pop-up shop at Cobbs on Saturday 28th October, Saturday 2nd December and Saturday 9th December. I can also be found at the Christmas fairs at St Francis, Pinewood and Bowood. I’d love to see you there.’ www.radishloves.com

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Best coffee in a rural location

Sam Bertram

5 October 2017

Sticks & Stones is a lovely relaxed rural café & lifestyle shop in Woodborough near Pewsey. Co-owner Garp Flack has always made the most beautiful wooden kitchenware so we spoke to his wife, co-owner Liis Flack, to find out what inspired them to open a café. What inspired you to transition from a shop selling Garp’s beautiful wares to opening a café? ‘Back in the day we had a studio and stock room at the back of Wiltshire Barn in Nursery Farm, Woodborough, which we used as a base to wholesale Garp’s kitchen accessories. We briefly had a shop in Marlborough, but when we got offered new premises at Nursery Farm, with a front on to the car park, we knew we wanted to focus on that space.   As with all rural businesses attracting customers is your number one priority. The new shop had a kitchen, if a little hidden, so we focused on uncovering everything, doing some refurbishments and opening up the space. It seemed a logical step to open a café alongside the shop. My mother is a chef in Estonia and Garp worked in the restaurant trade before leaving London. Although we said we’d never work in catering again, we kept coming back to it.  It’s obviously part of our DNA and we’re loving being involved in hospitality again. You’ve got a real loyal customer base, how have you achieved that? We started with the tiniest coffee machine and cakes from a local baker and we’ve gradually expanded our menu. We’ve got a great reputation for serving delicious coffee. Garp is pedantic about the quality of our coffee and regularly asks our staff to make him a coffee to ensure we’re keeping up the good standard. We’ve tried to make the café a little more interesting by buying local when we can but if not looking to the country of our births, Estonia and South Africa. We stock my aunt’s Estonian herbal teas and lovely leather handbags from Cape Town. We also have fabulous loyal staff. We incorporate food trends, the fact that people want to be healthy and serve what’s in season as much as possible. We serve a variety and our portion sizes are good while not being wasteful. One regular customer has a number of allergies, and we bend over backwards to make something he can eat. There is some Estonian influence – we love to cook chanterelles and wild mushrooms in season and serve smoked fish which we get from a local business. Some of our favourites are French Onion soup with croutons and gruyere and bagel with cream cheese and local salmon and avocado.  Many of our local customers work from home and come in to get out or meet clients. We have stay at home parents and we bribe dogs with treats so they drag their owners here! One local artist visits a few times a week, and just sits outside and relaxes. On a sunny day you could be anywhere in Europe. Come and see us – there are lots of other businesses to browse at Nursery Farm while you’re here.  http://www.uksticksandstones.com/     

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Mental Health Therapy

Sam Bertram

4 October 2017

Mental Health is a massive issue in the UK, with a recent study showing that almost 1 in 4 people in the UK say they have experienced a mental health issue in the last year. We spoke to Dance Movement Psychotherapist (DMP) Hannah Creighton of Gyidance about the influences that inspired her to help people with mental health issues and those who’ve experienced grievance and loss. DMP isn’t familiar to most, tell us a bit about it ‘Your body stores memories and dance and movement can help release these held emotions. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, where individuals are expected to talk, it’s an alternative approach to express oneself, accessesing places that words can’t reach. It’s extremely beneficial for those who need a way to channel held energies, such as those with mental illness or with disabilities like Autism. It is a creative process that meets the individual where they are at in their present moment. Music and props can support this and create a natural boundary between them and the therapist, using the best method to suit the individual.’ What inspired you to train as a Dance Movement Psychotherapist? ‘From the age of 6 months my mother put me into lots of clubs – starting with gymnastics and then moving on to ballet and trampolining. When I was 10 my mother passed away and everything suddenly stopped. It was only when I went to Secondary School, and they offered dance for GCSE, that I started again, eventually going on to University to do a BA in Dance and Theatre Arts. I love choreography and being creative. It’s almost like it was an unconscious acknowledgement to my mother who must have seen the potential in me. I’ve experienced some mental issues myself, and after University I went to Australia for some time out. It was there I got involved in a local festival and worked with a secondary school on a dance project, and decided to do a Masters degree in DMP. I’ve always liked to challenge myself and losing my mother at young age has made me want to live life to the full and push myself. I have a keen interest in working with mental health and having experienced loss, and suffered from poor mental health myself, I can combine my training with real empathy.   I started doing youth community dance projects and now frequently work with the elderly who’ve lost life, family and friends. I feel incredibly honoured to be part of their journey and hear about what’s happened in their lives. I also run Dance for Parkinson’s classes for people with Parkinsons, helping them with movements that can help them take a step forward. DMP has naturally found a place in these classes as it helps the participants realise what they still have to give. Mental health is the field I’m very passionate about and that’s what my dance project is about.’ Tell us about the Dance Project showing at Pound Arts on Saturday 7th October ‘Mental health is not straight forward and difficult to grasp. Life is incredibly fragmented when you live with a mental health issue.  The dance project looks at the fragmentation of us as human beings. Many people with mental health are riddled with fear and anxiety and they’re just trying to find a way to cope with what’s going on in life with them. A lot of people can’t put into words how they feel and what they’re experiencing. DMP is another way to express, release & communicate. The dance piece follows two dancers who are portraying the internal and external self, and the conflicts between them – the internal  is desperate to get out  but the external is not ready to face reality. The external may have become socially excluded or is avoiding day to day living but would rather ignore it as facing it is too overwhelming.  We’re doing the dance as part of the Peacock Arts Trail – we’re running a workshop on Saturday morning and then the dance early evening with Q & A.  We want to take it into schools to educate young people about mental health – showing them that there are other ways to manage your problems apart from talking. Come and see it on 7th October Pound Arts in Corsham – 4.00 to 4.30 and 6.45 to 7.15 http://gyidance.co.uk/  

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