Minx Nails – Sassy Style Sure to Sizzle

Minx Nails are a glamorous nail treatment that lets you extend fashion to your fingertips. This latest trend will ensure that your nails show off some sassy style that’s sure to sizzle this season.

They’re funky, flashy, and super fashionable. First popularised by US celebrities like Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Rihanna, the Minx revolution has now gone transatlantic and UK stars such as Lily Allen have now been seen sporting this trendy sexy look.

So how does Minx work? Well, it’s not nail polish but a unique nail treatment. An adhesive acrylic film nail coating is individually applied and filed to fit the shape of each nail. There are dozens of ready made patterns to choose from – everything from bold colours to houndstooth (as worn by Scarlet Johansson in her fashion shoot for Glamour magazine). The amazing silver and gold metallics are a popular choice, as is the metallic leopard print. You can’t go wrong with the endless options available. Best of all, there is no damage to your nail, no drying time and no smudging. You’ll also be pleased to know that Minx doesn’t use chemicals for application or removal so there are no unpleasant fumes.

What is a Minx manicure like? Although you can have the film applied as is, I recommend having your nails tidied up first with a basic manicure as we’ve heard this will make the Minx treatment last that bit longer. You then choose your Minx from the wide range of designs available. The film coating is applied to the nails which are then briefly put under a heat lamp to set. A little heat is used to remove them too when it’s time to go for a new style. You can customise them too to match your favourite dress, purse or shoes. Prices are between £30 and £50 depending on what you have and where you go. The whole process takes just over half an hour. What you end up with are gorgeous catwalk-ready nails that will certainly get everyone talking.

There are a number of salons around the country now doing this exciting new treatment. Recommended London salons are Maximiliano Centini on New Kings Road and Percy & Reed on Great Portland Street. If you’re in Cambridge, visit the award winning Sun Studios on Cherry Hinton High Street to get the Minx experience. Minx manicures have a short shelf life so if you want something longer lasting, I’d recommend going for the Minx pedicure which lasts several weeks. Or for those special occasions, I’d go for a manicure and pedicure in a Minx design that matches your outfit to add sparkle to your ensemble.

Minx Nails – perfect for parties, holidays or whenever you want that glitzy Red Carpet look that will get you noticed for all the right reasons!

Please note – this is not a hard-wearing treatment and is more suitable for styling up your look at a special event rather than to wearing to do domestic chores. I recommend that you wear Minx nails when you want to treat yourself to a bit of celebrity glamour and when you want to be the envy of your girlfriends at a special party.

Image reproduced from Minx Nails

The Three Horseshoes – Madingley‏

City Connect’s wine critic Tom Lewis – the Cambridge Wine Blogger – reviews one of his favourite gastropubs in Cambridgeshire – the Three Horseshoes in Madingley.

There comes a time when you have a young family when going for a meal means just finding somewhere that will keeps the kids occupied and not be too sniffy about a bit of noise; if the food is memorable, it’s a plus. Occasionally, however, you tell the kids it’s a special occasion and that they must behave nicely as they are going to a Smart Restaurant.

In the last decade of living in Cambridge, there is one place that we have kept coming back to – the Three Horseshoes based in Madingley, a small village just outside Cambridge with some thatched cottages, a rather grand-looking hall and the pub itself in the centre.

It has been a typical gastropub since before the term was coined – a thatched cottage on the outside, it has a modern, stripped-wood interior at the front which forms the bar area and a smarter restaurant area at the back which extends into the conservatory looking out onto a garden with fields beyond.

The Three Horseshoes was originally part of a small group of local gastropubs run by an MW, but was bought out by chef-patron Richard Stokes a few years ago. The change of ownership does not seem to have changed much in the way things are done, which is a Good Thing.

Wines are served by the glass, but a bottle is better value, so I ordered an Alpha Zeta Garganega from Veneto and announced I would not be driving home.

I’ve had Garganega only occasionally before and on this occasion, tasted blind, I would have confidently (but wrongly) sworn it was an Alsace Pinot Blanc – crisp and appley on opening with ripe pineapple acidity and a smooth texture, it developed into something richer and more mouthfillingly heavy with a honeysuckle waxiness, spicy, perfumey notes and a hint of smokiness during the meal – it proved to be a great match for the subsequent food with a great balance of acidity and body.

After bread with oil and vinegar for dipping, starters were sheep’s milk ricotta dumplings with deep fried sage leaves for some of us, whilst I opted for a selection of salamis with bruschetta.

The Three Horseshoes has always taken a rustic Italian inspiration for its menus, refined it a little but not too much and for its bar menu, at least, served up hearty portions.

For the main, we all picked for the same choice – a piece of pan-fried salmon with smashed cannellini beans, spinach and a salsa. There are some things that should not be messed with and to my mind salmon is one of those; it was served as it should be, well-cooked and well-flavoured, pink and flakey with a generous quarter of lemon to squeeze, but for me the highlight was actually the spinach which had a wonderful depth of earthy flavour.

We were more diverse in our choice of puddings – the kids opted to share a burnt caramel ice-cream with biscotti, some of us had panna cotta which was light and gooey but deliciously creamy, whilst I chose the apple crumble with creme fraiche ice-cream.

If you like your puddings rich and satisfying, then the Three Horseshoes could be your kind of place – my crumble was a generous bowl of lightly stewed and still firm apple chunks with a rich crunchy, toasty topping.

There is no children’s menu, no portions of chips, but helpfully, when they saw we had two kids they offered to divide one portion into two and serve them separately which is about the most child-friendly gesture I have seen in a long time and typical of the attentive and professional, but friendly and unpretentious service.

In our household, a measure of whether we like somewhere is if we’ve been three times or more; well, I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been to the Three Horseshoes over the years and I’m pleased to say that on this latest visit, the quality of the food and the welcome was as good as it’s always been.

The Alpha Zeta Garganega is available in Cambridge, at least, from Noel Young Wines and Cambridge Wine Merchants; both do mail order.

The Three Horseshoes
High Street
CB23 8AB
Tel: 01954 210221

Images reproduced from 1pumplane.files.wordpress.com

The Big Summer BBQ – 15th July, 5-11pm

Last year, Creating Cambridge organised an awesome business networking event called the Big Summer BBQ. It went down so well that the team at Creating Cambridge have just announced that bookings are now open for the next Big Summer BBQ which is to be held on 15th July 2011.

If you were one of those rare people that missed last year’s event, you can read about it here.

This year’s Big Summer BBQ networking event will be held at the The Ranch on Histon Road in Cambridge and will have an expected attendance of around 200 people from local Cambridge companies, particularly from Cambridge’s high-tech, bio-tech and creative sectors.

This networking event will be another great opportunity to mix and network with local entrepreneurs as well as managers and employees of local companies interested in meeting new people and exploring new business opportunities.

Last year it was great to see old colleagues and friends meeting up. But also people meeting new colleagues, eating and having a drink, and generally shooting the breeze.

This year Creating Cambridge are particularly proud to welcome as a sponsor The Creative Front, the new Cambrige network for the creative sector. And they hope to attract people to the Big Summer BBQ from as many Cambridge business groups and networks as possible.

EARLY BIRD TICKETS are now available at £12.50 – BOOK HERE

To read more about Creating Cambridge, have a look at their website

The Plough – Coton‏

City Connect’s wine critic Tom Lewis – the Cambridge Wine Blogger – shares his experience of a pub lunch at The Plough in Coton. This was the first time Tom had visited this gastropub and, reading what he has to say about the experience, it certainly sounds like it won’t be his last!

It was half-term and my turn to look after the kids. With only a little encouragement from me, my daughter decided she would like to do a bike ride and have a pub lunch somewhere. As I have mentioned previously on my blog, the quality of eating establishments in central Cambridge is not generally that great as many have only the tourist trade to consider. Moreover, whilst central Cambridge is an undeniably lovely place with its historic colleges, pedestrianised medieval street layout, the river Cam and the backs, the surrounding countryside is rather less impressive. So it was something of a challenge to think of a scenic route of 10-15 miles, suitable for a young cyclist, going via a decent country pub.

In the end, we started at Castle Mound, the highest point in the city with views of various chapels and rooftops, then wound our way between the colleges and along the backs to Grantchester Meadows and on to Grantchester itself before taking a minor road up to Coton about three miles west of Cambridge where we stopped at The Plough.

The Plough had been on my radar for a while as a gastropub worth visiting, but somehow we had never got round to it – any trips west of Cambridge have generally been to the excellent Three Horseshoes in nearby Madingley (to be reviewed next week).

Set more or less in the centre of Coton, The Plough has that typical gastropub look of a cosy olde worlde exterior contrasting with a smart, modern interior. As that day it happened to be not only not raining, but also rather hot in fact, we decided to sit under an umbrella outside at the back.

I went for the three-course set lunch, whilst my daughter ordered from the children’s menu. The food was proper gastropub-style, that is to say traditional pub food, well-made and presented, with perhaps the odd twist here and there, but not overly fancy restaurant food that happens to be served in a pub setting.

My starter of duck and black pudding terrine was served with slices of baguette and some dressed salad leaves and the waiting staff obligingly brought my daughter’s fish and chips at the same time so that she did not have to sit and wait for her food.

My main, when it arrived, was a deliciously buttery piece of cod, lightly cooked to perfection and served on roasted peppers with a manchego crust and tapenade – a paste of black olives. At home, I would not be brave enough to try and mix the heavy salty flavours of tapenade with cheese and cod for fear of overwhelming the subtlety of the fish, but this worked really well, especially with the sweetness of the peppers.

My daughter’s fish and chips were equally well made, with light crispy batter, succulent fresh fish and proper fat chips perfectly cooked – I can say this with authority having tried more than a few myself, much to her annoyance.

To finish, we had both chosen the same thing – chocolate brownie with ice-cream. Sadly, I was informed, their supplies only ran to a child’s portion, so I re-ordered a cheesecake with Amaretto, chocolate chips and raspberry topping. It was due to be served with clotted cream ice-cream (the main reason I had ordered it, to be honest) but actually came with a small saucer of double cream. I overcame my mild disappointment at this by pouring the cream over the cheesecake and also trying some of my daughter’s ice-cream and brownie sundae which was lovely – the brownie soft and moist, the rich home-made ice-cream flecked with dots of vanilla.

My cheesecake was also delicious – I am not sure I could discern any Amaretto in it and the chocolate chips did not seem to add much to it, but these were minor points.

There is a large garden at the back of the pub with additional seating, some trees and play equipment for children, so my daughter went off to try these out whilst I finished off my beer – a lovely pint of Adnams bitter – before a gentle ride back into Cambridge, again via Grantchester.

Having finally visited The Plough, I now don’t know why we haven’t been there before; we will certainly be back soon.

Image courtesy of www.cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.com

Hotel Du Vin & Bistro – Cambridge

City Connect’s wine critic Tom Lewis – the Cambridge Wine Blogger – shares his experience of a lunchtime visit to Hotel Du Vin & Bistro in Cambridge.

Central Cambridge is a beautiful place and a regular feature on the tourist circuit, but rather as a result of this, the quality of restaurants in the centre of town is not generally that great.

However, in recent years, the city has smartened its act up a little and with ever more London commuters living in and around the city, demand for decent restaurants has increased.

A few years ago, hoardings went up in front of a row of late-Victorian townhouses on Trumpington Street just opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum. What emerged shortly afterwards was Cambridge’s newest sophisticated bistro and luxury hotel, the Hotel Du Vin.

Hotel Du Vin is an upmarket chain of over a dozen hotels owned by the Massey Partnership which oddly claims to be a PR firm, albeit specialising in luxury travel and luxury goods. The Hotel Du Vin website talks of “quintessential British style. Elegant and unpretentious. Combine this with great spirit, wit, an unquestionable devotion to wine, and you have captured the essence of Hotel du Vin”.

I had popped in there a few months ago for a quick, informal business meeting with a contact after work and was very impressed by the quirky and sensitive use of space and the cosy, yet modern and unpretentious feel.

For this visit to the bistro, I was attracted by the homegrown and local menu on offer and wondered what seasonal east Anglian produce might be on offer in late autumn.

One of my principles of eating out is to try something different from what we might normally have at home and more or less as a result of this, our choices for all three courses were made for us. Eschewing the sausages (a staple of CWB dinners), we went for pork pie followed by pollock.

The pork pie was dense and meaty, with a satisfying pastry crust; it was served with garnished leaves and a delicious plum chutney with just the right amount of spice and a great balance between sweet and sharp.

The pollock came with chorizo and a gently spiced tomato sauce with again, a noticeable-but-restrained flavour of cumin, and sat on a small bed of wilted dark green leaves.

As it was lunchtime and we had two small and demanding children to get back home to, we limited ourselves to a couple of glasses of Manzanilla sherry; salty, dry and pungently yeasty, it was also superbly well-balanced with great length and depth of flavour.

When the dessert menu came round, we had already decided and ordered the sticky toffee pudding and chantilly cream without hesitation. Like the rest of the meal, it was simple yet full of delicious flavour and excellently made – the pudding light, just the right amount of rich toffee sauce not to be too cloying and the sweet chantilly cream balancing it all out perfectly.

And thinking back, that balance was the theme of the meal – nothing too flashy or obviously crowd-pleasing, but really well-cooked and well-balanced food kept simple yet sophisticated.

In a city like Cambridge with so much passing trade, it takes a certain degree of confidence, if not bravery, to serve food which impresses not with immediate flashiness but with quiet, understated confidence. As a Cambridge resident – and not a tourist - it’s a decision I appreciate.

A lunchtime meal for two from the Homegrown and Local menu with drinks, service and charitable donation cost £60. Click here to see a sample menu.

Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
15-19 Trumpington Street
Tel: 01223 227 330

Image reproduced from travelinsider.qantas.com.au

Film Review: Love and Other Drugs

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams reviews “Love And Other Drugs”. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website www.sloansw.com

Love and Other Drugs came out on DVD today and, although had mixed reviews in the cinema, is what I would call a beautiful adult romance. Adorning our DVD shelves at the moment, love stories tend to be targeted at the teenage demographic so it was a pleasant surprise to find a story written in such an honest raw way depicting a complicated relationship where love is not always enough.

Released in late 2010, Love and Other Drugs has an amazing cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Jamie Randall, a womanising yet lovable rogue who works as a drug rep spreading his business and his person amongst hospitals over the country. His leading lady Anne Hathaway plays Maggie Murdock - a charming whimsical free spirit who sees right through Jamie. At the young age of 26, for reasons that will become evident throughout the film, she has dissociated herself from meaningful relationships and it is this very action that draws Jamie in to get beyond Maggie’s boundaries. This proves harder for Jamie than his normal conquests and leads to an interesting and moving drama.

Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway perform well in Love and Other Drugs, repeating the successful performances of their past movie roles by providing strong acting and believeable characters which nicely complement the intriguing yet moving story. This was reflected in Golden Globe Award nominations in January 2011 for Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway as Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. In terms of the supporting cast, Gyllenhall and Hathaway are accompanied by Hank Azaria, who plays Maggie’s doctor; Oliver Platt, who plays Jamie’s business partner; and the likes of Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht and Judy Greer.

The screenplay was based on the non-fiction book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” by Jamie Reidy. There is an attempt at a statement about the ethics of the pharmaceutical industry and it’s influence on doctors and patients alike and given that the movie is set between the years 1996 and 1999 (when Pfizer released Viagra) I can see why they attempted this approach. In my opinion, the greater aspect of the movie is the human interaction between Jamie and Maggie and the tonal shifts between happiness, tension, closeness, comedy, insight and confusion are all displayed expertly and never seem awkward.

The director and co-writer of this movie - Edward Zwick - is better known for his television work. He was involved behind both thirtySomething and Once and Again – both of which I personally enjoyed. His move to the big screen has paid off as he has brought the more adult relationship drama mixed with comedy to a wider audience.

All in all I would give this film four stars and for me Gyllenhaal and Hathaway had a good balance of flirtation, chemistry and passion to believe that they were a well-suited couple. It is the second time this pair has been brought together since Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and hopefully their performances, which show the breadth and depth of their abilities, will enable them to seek even great heights and adorn our screens again in even more moving dramas and/or romantic comedies.

Love and Other Drugs is out on DVD on Monday 23 May. For those of you who didn’t think it was worth seeing at the cinema I do urge you to rent it as it brings forth a lot of questions about how some things are worth fighting for and circumstances should not deter the passionate – be it about love or life in general.

Image reproduced from 20th Century Fox
Video reproduced from YouTube / TheTubeTrailers

The 38th Cambridge Beer Festival – 23 to 28 May

City Connect recommends the Cambridge Beer Festival for a good day out. The event supplies British beer, Foreign beers, ciders, perry, mead and wine (from our very own Cambridgeshire Chilford Hall)

CAMRA itself explains the history behind the event and provides more information below…

The Cambridge Beer Festival was first held in 1974. This festival is the branch’s largest and its main beer festival. During its long run, the festival has had several homes but since 2001 has been held on Jesus Green in late May. The festival is the United Kingdom’s longest running CAMRA beer festival and currently the second largest regional beer festival. The festival features a wide range of local and national beers of all styles, as well as cider, perry, mead, wine and bottled & draft beers from around the world. The festival is also famous for its CAMRA Cheese Counter, where a very wide range of fine cheeses, together with locally produced bread, pork pies, ham and other savoury items are available.

The Cambridge Beer Festival has been held on Jesus Green since 2001. Jesus Green lies just to the north of Cambridge city centre, in easy walking distance of the main bus station in Drummer Street, bus stops in Bridge Street and Chesterton Road and Victoria Avenue.

Beer is the centrepiece of the festival, and we have beers from around the British Isles, featuring over 230 beers from around 100 breweries. We’ve got beers from some of our oldest family brewers and our newest microbreweries for you to try and enjoy.

A lot of time and research has gone into choosing the beers for this year’s beer festival and it has been hard work at times but the dedicated beer ordering team have been sampling beer from up and down the country in order to bring you a range of the best beers on offer. We have a very dedicated cellar team, who will be working hard to ensure that the beer is well looked after.

Cambridge CAMRA Cheese Counter returns… Fine cheeses, breads, pork pies, scotch eggs, hams, smoked fish, olives and more. We will also be offering premium pork scratchings and plain crisps, which will be available from the cheese counter and from the bars. A selected range of snacks – pies, scotch eggs – will be available in carry out bags from the cheese counter after the main cheese counter closes, until the end of the session.

Monday the 23rd to Saturday the 28th May 2011

Opening Hours & Admission

  5:00pm — 10:30pm   £4.00
Tuesday — Friday
  12pm — 3:00pm   Free
  5pm — 10:30pm   £4.00
  12pm — 10:30pm   £2.50
We are pleased to offer free entrance to all CAMRA & CURAS members at all sessions upon producing a valid membership card.

John Cage at De La Warr Pavilion Until 5 June

Anybody who is familiar with the silent work 4’33” (4 minutes 33 seconds) will have some idea of the avant-garde style of John Cage.

I had heard of it but never listened, it’s just silence after all. But after visiting the De La Warr Pavilion, I found a performance on YouTube and discovered that there’s far more to John Cage than meets the eye.

Just like this exhibition at the De La Warr, look beneath the surface and you will begin to discover hidden depths of the man. As you walk into the main exhibition space you will find lesser known framed works in various media, pencil, etching, lithograph, aquatint etc; simple shapes and patterned abstracts.

It’s not until you sit and listen to the video documentaries that you begin to realise that the works, created through random but complex processes, point to a new translation of the world around us.

These are not works for those looking for energetic visual effects and quick sensationalism but if you have the time you will find art that deserves a deeper sense of thought and reflection.

A haunting, self-playing grand piano and works by a selection of artists inspired by Cage, appear throughout the building. Other events including live performances will be held throughout the season.

Image reproduced from International Review of Music
Video reproduced from YouTube / morbidcafe

The Big Book Comes to Cambridge

One of the world’s biggest books is coming to visit Cambridge University Library on May 19-21. It is a 2.2 metre high walk-in book entitled Imagine. It invites readers to enter and write their own individual answer to the question: “What do you imagine?”

The sculpture has been designed by artist Diana Bell (click here to visit her homepage) and will be displayed at the entrance of the University Library for three days. It was first displayed in Oxford last year and has since also been exhibited in London, where it was displayed in front of the British Library. The next stop-over will be in Bonn/ Germany early this summer (June 2nd-5th).

The book is aimed to represent the huge role books play in our society and to demonstrate how the individual can shape society with his/ her contribution. The book has collected comments from people in 57 different languages so far. Diana Bell said: “The reason the contributions are all handwritten is to emphasise the huge role individuality and imagination plays in our lives, and the empathy and interaction it allows us to have. I didn’t think contributing online would have the same impact, but all the contributions are scanned and placed on the Big Book website, so I am definitely embracing the digital age too!” The comments that have been written in the book can be found online on the website of the Big Book.

Diana Bell invites absolutely everyone to participate. For Cambridge in particular, she would like to see what scientists and mathematicians may think about the central question of the book. Are we the only being who has imagination? What are imaginary numbers? There are scientists in Cambridge from all over the world and some of their contributions might be very interesting and very different to the questions other people have asked. This book is a great way to get an insight to what moves people from many backgrounds and cultures.

This project is an ample opportunity for anyone to actively participate in one massive gathering of ideas and information on a question so central to human existence as existence itself. Imagination is in the centre of our being and so invaluable to our mind. Are you imagining right now and what do you imagine? Are your imaginations the same as those of your family, friends and neighbours?

So far almost 2000 people have contributed to the book, with about 250 comments per page. Some comments include: “Imagine a world without pollution”, “Imagine if everyone loved each other”, “Imagine if humans were not the dominant race in the world”, “Imagine if pandas ruled the world”, “Imagine if this book led to Narnia”, “Imagine complete happiness” and “Imagine a world were we give more than we take”.

Now it is time for the people of Cambridge to write down their comments in the big book. The Big Book will be outside the main entrance of the University Library and can be visited the following times:

Thursday May 19th: 10am-7pm, Friday May 20th and Saturday May 21st: 10am-5pm.

Image reproduced from www.imaginethebigbook.com

Men’s Fashion Trends for Spring 2011

Make sure you’re in style this season with our guide on how to update your wardrobe now that Winter is over. The Spring/Summer 2011 designer collections were shown at the end of last year in London, Paris, New York and Milan. These couture creations have filtered down to the high street and now everyone can get their hands on the latest looks to keep up with the ever-changing world of Men’s Fashion. The woven belt below from Ralph Lauren is just one of the hot new styles which have now reached the high street this season.

Here is a full list of the key trends every well-dressed man about town should be sporting this Spring.


  • Every man should have a woven belt in his Spring wardrobe – team with jeans or chinos for a casual relaxed style.
  • Stay on-trend with leather strap sandals – stick to simple designs to avoid that “gladiator” look!


  • Avoid the double denim look – pair denim jeans with soft knitwear or denim jackets with block colour trousers.
  • Go for vintage, faded and worn denim to keep up with the latest trends.


  • T-shirt with a suit is a key look this Spring but make sure it’s a good quality plain dark t-shirt to keep things smart.
  • A linen suit is essential and best kept relaxed so don’t worry about the creases.
  • Sports jackets can be worn for a super smart casual look – choose from single breasted or double breasted styles depending on your build.
  • Key colours are navy blue and khaki this season.


  • Fisherman’s jackets are very in season and are both trendy and practical for those Spring showers.
  • Trench coats and stylish macs are also fashionable this season.
  • Choose from navy, khaki or bright primary colours.


  • Bright and bold knitwear makes a statement this season – choose from either colourful knits (red is a key colour this season) or bold stripes.
  • Cardigans follow the statement look and are best worn unbuttoned over a plain t-shirt if you have a broad chest.


  • Wear coloured chinos to stay on trend – ditch khaki in favour of fresh bright colours perfect for a summery look.
  • Grey jeans were featured heavily in the S/S 2011 collections so buying a pair will keep you part of the in-crowd.
  • Smart shirts work best kept paler than pastel – wear with contrasting ties or button up right to the neck to copy the catwalk look.
  • Red is hot this season so make sure you have one or two key items in this trendy colour.

Image reproduced from Ralph Lauren

Making a Royal Appointment

With royal wedding fever still in the air, the people of Cambridge are in for a real treat in June when Senior Director and Sotheby’s international jewellery expert, Alexandra Rhodes will be giving an illustrated talk.

Ms Rhodes will speak at a Cambridge Fundraising Committee’s wine reception on Thursday 9 June at Newham College in Cambridge.  She will talk about the Exceptional Jewels & Precious Objects formerly in the Collection of The Duchess of Windsor; offered at Sotheby’s in the original 1987 sale, and the subsequent auction in Geneva last November.

The Cambridge Fundraising Committee was set up in 2000 to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust’s Acorn House. Since it was established, the committee has raised over £200,000 through their programme of events that run throughout the year.

Alexandra has over 30 years’ experience within Sotheby’s International jewellery department and as a specialist she has participated in Sotheby’s major jewellery sales, playing a primary role in historic sales of various collections. She said:

“The Sick Children’s Trust is such a wonderful charity and I am happy to lend my support through this talk. The ‘Home from Home’ accommodation they provide is invaluable and it is heartening to know that such a worthwhile charity exists to support parents and children alike during what must be most difficult times for them.”

“Jewellery is a real passion of mine, having worked in this fascinating field for more than 30 years, and I hope to provide a real insight into these renowned royal jewels, and pass on some of my enthusiasm.”

Patsy Glazebrook, vice president of the Cambridge Fundraising Committee added: “With royal wedding fever gripping the nation still, this is an event not to be missed!”

The money raised will go towards Acorn House, The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ accommodation for families who are currently being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, and once it is open, the new Rosie hospital, where the charity is building a new house.

For tickets to the event, costing £10 (including wine) please call Nigel Bullock on 01223 311877 or email sctcambridge@googlemail.com

For more information: Please contact Sarah Wallace on 020 79318695 or email sarah@sickchildrenstrust.org

About The Sick Children’s Trust:
The Sick Children’s Trust was founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists Dr Jon Pritchard and Professor James Malpas. They believed that having parents on hand during hospital treatment benefited a child’s recovery.

Today the charity has seven ‘Homes from Home’ at major hospitals around the country where families can stay free of charge, for as long as they need whilst their child is undergoing treatment. There is a growing demand for ‘Homes from Home’ as children must increasingly travel long distances to get the specialist treatment they need. Over the years The Sick Children’s Trust has provided more than 35,000 family stays.

Susan Hiller at Tate Britain Until 15 May

Having known little or nothing of Susan Hiller’s work (and travelling miles up from Folkestone) I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to find a show that was thought provoking and unique.

Hiller’s work excavates the overlooked and ignored aspects of our culture, finding meaning in the mundane and outlandish through collected images and objects, to reveal other meanings and contexts that take on a life of their own. Each work, the result of painstaking research and gathered data, rehashed and presented as something akin to a serious scientific study, invites the viewer to consider the oddities in life as something remarkable, even beautiful and definitely humorous.

Dedicated to the Unknown Artists 1972-6 gives unexpected focus to works of the forgotten artists who photographed, painted and hand-tinted seaside town postcards, at the same time reminding us of our obsession with weather. Hiller’s postcard collection features huge waves frozen in their full glory pounding British seaside coastal towns. When framed together, these otherwise discarded reminders of a not-so-hot holiday, have a dated, eerie beauty through their repetition and the use of sepia and muted colours of a by-gone era.

Walking into a darkened space empty except for what seems like hundreds of star like objects, are in fact speakers each suspended by wire from the ceiling. As their metallic surfaces shine out in the darkness and draw you in, there is a murmuring of distant conversation which rises and falls in intensity. You soon realise the speakers have their own individual voice each telling its own story, a witness’ encounter with UFO’s or alien being. Witness: 2000 has an almost religious feel, that of walking through a cathedral with the whispering of prayer echoing and rebounding, but here giving the usually discredited a sense of heightened belief and importance.

Magic Lantern 1987, a film projection and sound work, reminiscent of early trade test cards and colour eye tests, explores the body’s response to colour as a pure form. As I sat watching and listening through headphones as if a volunteer in some experiment. Scratchy sound recordings of an obscure Latvian scientist (who believed to have identified language in noises recorded in empty rooms) and Hillier’s own rhythmical chanting voice, added to the notion of my being part of a bizarre Pythonesque lab test.

Image reproduced from Tate Britain

Olympian Backs Big Walk for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Britain’s number one female javelin thrower Goldie Sayers is putting her weight behind Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk in Cambridgeshire on Sunday 22 May. Goldie is urging everyone to step up to the challenge and help the UK’s leading dementia research charity raise £10,000 to pay for 500 hours of pioneering dementia research.

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in the ten mile Big Walk, which starts and finishes in Great Shelford, home to Alzheimer’s Research UK. The route heads towards the centre of Cambridge, via footpaths and countryside, passing the Botanical Gardens and on through Grantchester Meadows.

Cambridge-based Goldie, 28, who represented Britain at the Beijing and Athens Olympics, said:
“This is a Big Walk with a fantastic focus – to raise desperately needed funds for dementia research. It’s a marvellous opportunity to keep fit, have fun and see some beautiful areas of Cambridgeshire that can only be fully appreciated on foot. And keeping fit can help reduce the risk of many serious diseases, including dementia, so everyone’s a winner!

“It’s great to know Alzheimer’s Research UK is there for us all, dedicated to finding new treatments for dementia so that future generations can reap the benefits.

“Representing Britain and competing in the Olympics takes real dedication too and my training for the London 2012 trials takes up all my time. My thoughts will be with everyone on the day of the Big Walk and I hope as many people as possible will join in to help Alzheimer’s Research UK defeat dementia.”

Miranda Mays, Community Fundraising Manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, added:
“Our Big Walk is a first for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we plan to make it a regular date on the Cambridgeshire calendar. It’s just brilliant to have Goldie’s backing for this event and we look forward to following her progress with the London 2012 Olympics.

“We’ve been amazed by the support we’ve received so far and there’s still time for people to sign up to take part, or come along as a volunteer, and help us achieve our goal of raising £10,000. Every step taken and every penny raised will bring us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure dementia.

“There are over 6,000 people in Cambridgeshire living with dementia today and over 820,000 across the UK, with numbers forecast to rise substantially in the next generation. Dementia can only be defeated through research but funding lags far behind other serious diseases and we rely entirely on our wonderful supporters.”

To take up the challenge or volunteer to help on the day, contact Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk team on 01223 843899 or email bigwalk@alzheimersresearchuk.org. To register, adults £15, under 18s £7.50. More information is also available online at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/big-walk

About Alzheimer’s Research UK: Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. Based in Cambridge, they believe that science and innovation hold the key to defeating dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK conducts world-class research to prevent, treat and cure dementia. They help people to understand dementia and the progress they are making. Alzheimer’s Research UK forges partnerships with Government and other key organisations to make dementia research a national priority. For further details, check out the Alzheimer’s Research UK website.

Image courtesy of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Janet Cardiff at Fabrica Gallery Until 30 May

On a day when the Brighton anti-capitalist protest march was kicking off just outside the gallery, it may have not seemed like the best time to view some new artwork. But seeking sanctuary off the street in the former church, now Fabrica Gallery, had a surreal and spiritual effect as 40 angelic voices delivered the Spem in Alium (1573) by Thomas Tallis, one of the most influential English composers of sixteenth century. You can listen to an excerpt of the piece in the following video:

No live singers here though. The Forty Part Motet is a sound installation by Canadian artist, Janet Cardiff, based on the renaissance choral music piece by Tallis and sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. It has been exhibited all over the world since its creation in 2001. Spem in Alium is not often performed, as it requires at least forty singers capable of meeting its technical demands. The piece is widely regarded as one of the best examples of renaissance polyphony and has been described as astonishing and magnificent, often having a profound effect on the audience.

Here each voice in the choir has been separately recorded and played through a circle of 40 speakers. Set to head height and surrounding the nave they act as representations for the human form. You can sit at the centre and take in the total effect, or freely wander along the line from one speaker (or voice) to another – when would you have an opportunity to do this at a live performance?

You can’t help but be moved by the strength of this music and the clever simplicity of the installation. Janet Cardiff is well known for her sound installations, working together with her partner and fellow artist, George Bures Miller. She has created an artwork that combines space with intimacy - a sculptural experience of the Tallis work where music connects with you in such a physical way that you feel enveloped by it.

On her website, Janet Cardiff is quoted as saying:
While listening to a concert you are normally seated in front of the choir, in traditional audience position. With this piece I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers. Every performer hears a unique mix of the piece of music. Enabling the audience to move throughout the space allows them to be intimately connected with the voices. It also reveals the piece of music as a changing construct. As well I am interested in how sound may physically construct a space in a sculptural way and how a viewer may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space. I placed the speakers around the room in an oval so that the listener would be able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis. You can hear the sound move from one choir to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.”

City Connect suggests: The month of May is an ideal time to enjoy Brighton and while you’re there a visit to Fabrica to experience this installation is highly recommended. Brighton is approximately one hour from London by train. The Fabrica Gallery is within 15 minutes walk of Brighton station and the gallery is open every day between 7 and 29 May from 12pm to 7pm. Late night openings are on Saturday 7 May & Saturday 28 May until 11pm. The last day to experience this wonderful artwork is the Spring Bank Holiday on 30 May when the gallery is open between 2pm and 5pm.

Fabrica Gallery
40 Duke Street
East Sussex
Tel: 01273 778 646

Images courtesy of Tony Foster
Video reproduced from YouTube/theprof1958

Source Code’s 8 Minutes Won’t Last Too Long

In 2009, British filmmaker Duncan Jones burst onto the scene with his highly acclaimed sci-fi drama Moon. His current film, Source Code, is another sci-fi thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Captain Stevens, an Afghan helicopter pilot who inexplicably wakes up on a combat mission in the body of another man on a commuter train heading to Chicago.

Soon enough, he discovers that he is part of a government experiment known as Source Code, that allows someone to cross over to a dead person’s body to relive the last 8 minutes of their life – the exact amount of short term memory still intact when a person first dies. The commuter train explodes at the end of the 8 minutes and the mission involves finding out who planted the bomb and who is responsible. Consequently, Captain Stevens is sent back into the 8-minute memory sequence until all the mysteries are unravelled. Each jump to the train allows Stevens to take a slightly different approach to the mission – creating moments of subtle humour, tense drama, and surprisingly believable sympathy.

The film’s lead, Jake Gyllenhaal, gives an adequate performance as Captain Stevens and shares a fresh, comedic chemistry with his female commuter train counterpart, Michelle Monaghan. Gyllenhaal portrays his character’s confusion, mission, and personal story effectively. That said, for a character that’s written as a master of details (and memory) – the script fails Stevens by routinely showing the Captain’s difficulty at understanding the most basic elements of the Source Code premise.

Despite an over-complicated premise, Source Code succeeds at being an above average sci-fi thriller. The audience will definitely enjoy the film with it’s fast moving story beats, but the film falls short of being as smart as it aims to be and the ending may leave the audience a bit disappointed with the director’s approach. Overall, the film is thoroughly entertaining and just the right length, but the film is a better candidate for a rainy night of DVD watching than a trip to the cinema.

Image courtesy of celebritywonder.ugo.com
Video reproduced from YouTube / MovieManiacsDE

Insidious Creeps from Somewhere Unfamiliar

Director James Wan makes a nice contribution to the haunted house genre (or what appears to be the haunted house genre – you’ll have to see the film to fully understand). In recent years, he has become a polarizing figure amongst horror geeks. He co-wrote and directed the first Saw film, a low budget, immensely successful independent horror flick, and has made two mediocre follow-ups in Death Sentence and Dead Silent.  With Insidious, though, Wan seems to have gotten his groove back.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2010 in the festival’s Midnight Madness series. Being one of the lowest budget films that Wan has worked on hasn’t stopped this film from getting some great critic reviews or from being picked up by Sony Pictures.

Insidious is a film that will crawl right under your skin. It has the perfect recipe for what horror movie junkies are looking for today – unpredictable frightening moments, a unique plot, and a new insight to the concept of a parallel ghost realm. The fact that Insidious is able to accomplish all this without spilling a single drop of blood is even more impressive.

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the married couple in the film and both give good performances, along with Barbara Hershey who is now becoming a household name in the scary movie genre after this film and the widely successful Black Swan of 2010. If this film could speak a single phrase, it would blurt out something like “Hold the blood and guts, let’s get straight to the haunting”.

Image adapted from: http://www.daemonsmovies.com

Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines Roadshow

The Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines Roadshow rolled into Cambridge on 31 March as Noel Young Wines held a tasting at John de Bruyne’s Anstey Hall. Tom Lewis, the Cambridge Wine Blogger, was there and shares his recommendations from the roadshow with City Connect.

Described by award-winning Daily Mail writer Jukes as “a legend in the wine industry”, Noel had selected 40 of Matthew’s 100 wines to present that evening and anyone wishing to get a sense of what Australia has to offer could do much worse than turn up at one of these roadshows.

Arriving half-way through the event, I speed-tasted my way through the wines and then had a chat with Matthew to find out more about how he chose his top 100.

Tasting 30,000 to 40,000 wines a year – that’s an average of 100 wines every single day – Matthew keeps a note of all those which he scores 18.5 or over and then whittles them down to 100 by focusing on what is available for the UK market.

He does not moderate his list in any way; that is, he does not put in wines he feels “ought” to be included or add in a few worthy, but underachieving, wines to round out the list of grape varieties.

Rather, he just lists his top 100, noting that each year there ends up being a small number of fizzes and stickies, with an approximate 50:50 split for the remaining reds and whites that simply represent his personal preferences and assessment.

There is not room here to record all the wines I tried and in any case you can find the full 100 list here, but after all the tasting what struck me was that it was the varieties for which Oz is known best that generally stood out – Chardonnay, Cab and Shiraz.

I asked Matthew about his thoughts on where Australian wine is, and should be, going.

Explaining that what he admires most about Australians is their open frankness and ability not only to take criticism on the chin but also to act on it, he told me he had been invited to talk at a marketing conference on Aussie wines not for any in-depth subject knowledge, but for his own plain-speaking no-nonsense approach.

His view is that Australia needs to continue turning away from the volume-driven supermarket turf war area and focus on its terroir and wines in the mid-range where it has huge potential – three-for-a-tenner wines, he explained, are now the preserve of South Africa, not Oz.

In short, then, Australia needs to grow up and become more serious, more European even – and whilst certain retailers’ shelves may currently be awash with cheap, overly fruity and sweet Aussie plonk, this could be a final hurrah before exchange rates and rises in duty make this cease to be an attractive area for business.

He also believes that Oz’s future lies in its most well-known, international varieties – he is not a fan of Spanish or Italian varieties being grown in Oz and says they usually end up being not as good as, but more expensive than, the styles they try to emulate.

However, he does believe Australian Pinot Noir is getting better all the time and is one to watch.

The full list of the wines on show that evening is here, but what follows is my condensed summary of the ones I liked.


NV Jacob’s Creek, Blanc de Blancs, Australia – this was light, crisp and fresh with a good finish. Price not available as, bizarrely, Jacob’s Creek refuses to tell Noel Young the trade price.

Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc

These wines were lean and crisp in a cool-climate sort of way; not typically Australian at all.

2010 Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, SA (£12.99) had a smokey, flinty nose, crisp acidity, a full palate and good length on the finish.

2005 Tyrrell’s Belford Single Vineyard Semillon, Hunter Valley NSW had a complex but restrained nose with hints of diesel and a ripe, linear and balanced acidity.


There were a number of quite good ones here, but the 2009 Pikes Riesling, Clare Valley, SA (£15.99) showed perhaps the best overall complexity and balance between fullness, acidity and minerality.


There were two very good Chardonnays on show – but neither cheap. Both were quite pale in the glass with great complexity and structure, toasty oak and impressive finishes; 2008 Yabby Lake Vineyard, Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula, Vic (£24.99) and 2008 Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA (£38.95).

Pinot Noir

The two Pinots on show were pale, almost rose-like, mushroomy and pleasant enough, but I’m not sure I quite share Matthew’s enthusiasm for them at this stage.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Unlike the cool-climate feel of the whites, the style here is still mainly New World – soft, smooth and full of blackcurrant fruit, with the odd more seriously-textured wine thrown in at the upper end of the price range.

The 2008 Wirra Wirra Church Block, McLaren Vale, SA (£16.99) was good, but the 2009 Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, SA (£12.99) made partially in the amarone style was ripe, mouth-filling and smooth with minty eucalyptus.

Also very impressive for its texture and tannic structure was a 2007 Petaluma Coonawarra, SA (£30.75).

The “weird and wonderful reds”, all lighter and more fruit-driven, were an enjoyable diversion into more affordable, everyday-drinking wines before the hedonistic delight that was the final run of Shirazes.

Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre

2009 Glaetzer, Wallace Shiraz / Grenache, Barossa Valley, SA (£17.50) had sweet prune fruit and minty eucalyptus.

2007 Plantaganet Shiraz, Great Southern, WA (£24.99) had ripe prunes and plums, a soft-but-full texture and a toasty finish.

2007 Mitolo Savitar Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA (£29.99) had a complex mix of mouthwatering fruit, dense texture, minty blackcurrant, a toastiness and good grippy finish.

Image reproduced from cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.com

Wittgenstein – an Exhibition

A new exhibition on Wittgenstein and photography is currently being shown at the Old Examination Hall in Cambridge. The world famous philosopher was a keen photographer himself, using it as a means to exemplify many of his arguments. He carried out a lot of photography when he was an architect and primary school teacher. In his writings there are numerous references to photography, demonstrating how important he saw modern media in communication.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born in Vienna/ Austria in 1889. He grew up in Austria-Hungary and arrived in Cambridge in 1911 to commence his studies at Trinity College. His revolutionary views on the meaninglessness of existential propositions soon challenged many of his peers. He held the professorship in philosophy at the University of Cambridge between 1939 and 1947.

He wrote one of the cornerstones of modern philosophy, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. This book describes the limitations of our own personal thinking directed by the limitations of language. The work contains almost no arguments, but rather declarative statements meant to be self-evident, needless to be defended. He explains the world as cases, which are defined by states of affairs and introduces the mathematical parameters of a truth function, determining any statement. The book funnels into the final statement: “Whereof one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence.” Having read the book myself, I must say it is not an easy read at all. After re-reading many pages I still only claim to merely understand some parts of it, despite being fluent in German. The book really makes one think, whether we can say we truthfully know anything at all.

Wittgenstein’s personal circumstances were not easy. Not only was it difficult for an Austrian to live in Britain during war-times, but his homosexuality also made an open and truthful life difficult. How his philosophical thinking and personal circumstances influenced photography are certainly worth a look and this exhibition itself is rare and thus a must-see for anyone interested in modern philosophy.

Photographic & Illustration Service
First Floor
Old Examination Hall
New Museums Site
Free School Lane

Image reproduced from: http://paedpsych.jk.uni-linz.ac.at