Cambridge Open Studios 2011

July is just around the corner which means that Cambridge Open Studios 2011 is not far away. The editors at City Connect absolutely love this time of year as we are treated to some amazing works of art and, along with the public, are kindly invited into the homes of the artists themselves.

For those of you who have yet to discover Cambridge Open Studios, it is an event which allows artists to collectively work together in the centre of Cambridge and some surrounding towns and villages. More often than not, you will be invited into the artist’s home and will be able to buy pieces you fall in love with even if they are not showing them in a working studio or exhibition.

To add to the magic of Cambridge Open Studios, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that some of the artists go the extra mile and offer you tea, coffee, wine or nibbles as you explore their beautiful works of art in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The added bonus is that the artists themselves are on hand to talk to yo about their work and in some instances commission you your very own piece.

Cambridge Open Studios is often talked about as one of the highlights of Cambridge’s artistic year. You will undoubtedly be inspired and see some outstanding paintings in addition to other works of art such as batik painting, ceramics, pottery, drawings, illustrations, glass, furniture making, painting, jewellery, photography, sculpture, textiles, digital arts, wood carving, enamels and much much more.

To participate in Cambridge Open Studios, a good starting point is to pick up your free guide book which can be found at various venues around the city of Cambridge. This guide book is bright yellow and hard to miss and this year it boasts 240 artists and groups taking part at over 178 venues across the city and villages. For those of you new to Cambridge, the Cambridge Open Studios guide book includes a map to make finding all the studios as easy as possible.

Please note that not all artists display their work on each of the first four weekends of July when Cambridge Open Studios takes place. To avoid disappointment and to make sure the artist of your choice is exhibiting work on your chosen date, please visit

Cambridge Open Studios will be displaying work on:
2 and 3 July
9 and 10 July
16 and 17 July
23 and 24 July

Not that you need any more encouragement but Cambridge Open studios are free to the public. Just keep your eyes peeled for the yellow flags denoting participating artists and galleries so pop in and have a look. There is no pressure to buy at any time and you will often find the exhibitors are happy to talk about their work and inspiration.

If you need a little more culture in your life, other exhibits around that City Connect recommends are as follows:-

  • Byard Art – “Capturing Cambridge” showing until 19 June
  • Cambridge Contemporary Art – “Sir Peter Blake New Prints” showing until 26 June
  • Cattle’s Yard – “Andy Holden” showing until 10 July

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Cambridge Fairs & Festivals in June

June has seen quite a few festivals and fairs already, at the beginning of the month we saw Strawberry Fair (which was sadly cancelled last year but returned with aplomb this year) transforming the greenery of Midsummer Common normally graced with cows and rowers into an eclectic mix of craft, music, food, drink and entertainment stalls.

If that was not enough Cambridge then brought us a good old fashioned country fair which concentrated on rural pursuits, childrens entertainment, animal displays, arts and crafts and a fabulous gourmet food tent. The Town and Country Fair was located on Parkers Piece really had something for people of all ages providing a taster of country life in the centre of our city. For more details on similar fairs please go to

After recently celebrating 800 years of the University of Cambridge, this city provided us with yet another big birthday in the form of Cambridge’s Midsummer Fair. This was the third and final fair to grace Cambridge’s greens at the end of this month and is the UK’s oldest travelling fair and market which celebrates its 800th year on Midsummer Common. Although Cambridge Midsummer Fair has been updated over the 800 years now including dodgems, waltzers, ghost trains and funfair rides to scare at least 10 years off your life, the fair still pays respects to its roots and its first few years on this common. For example, the first day of the fair (Wednesday 22 June) will still see the Cambridge mayor, members of the Council and civic dignitaries starting a parade and proclaiming the fair open by scattering newly minted pennies into the crowd. For more information please see

For those of you local to Cambridge city centre, June also hosted May Week fireworks. Although in June, Cambridge University still refers to the end of term as May Week and the University Balls are due to set off fireworks on Monday 20 and 21 June 2011. Many residents choose to watch these fireworks from a punt, whether self hired or chauffeur driven. To hire a punt (self-hire or with chauffeur) go to

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Cambridge Arts Theatre 75th Anniversary Season

Although more often than not we all love to jump on a train and hit the West End to see the best actors and actresses in the London theatre, with some of us even being extravagant enough to board a plane to New York for the weekend to catch the latest show on Broadway.

However look no further than your local county as Cambridge Arts Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary season.

Cambridge Arts Theatre had promised us that through the months of June to November they are going to provide us with their best ever season to mark their glorious 75th anniversary. Their press release states that these months will be jam-packed with new productions, classic revivals, comedy shows, family shows and a special appearance from one of the London’s stage top legends.

So far June has seen an amazing launch of the Cambridge Arts Theatre 75th anniversary season with the very popular Avenue Q then moving on to Communicating Doors a popular Ayckbourn play. The summer season that the Cambridge Arts Theatre kept hotting up even though our weather was not keeping up with the ground breaking introduction of a new play called Love Love Love by Mike Bartlett. This play takes us back to the summer of love following a hedonistic couple originally from the 60s and how forty years later generational clashes begin to emerge.

If this play was too high brow for some of you, the Arts Theatre also provided a scratch and sniff stage version of David Walliams’ book Mr Stink. Apart from reeking out the auditorium the younger members of the audience were astoundingly happy with the gruesomely smelly and wickedly funny event ending off the June season, City Connect is pleased to announce that the Calendar Girls are back still daring to reveal nearly all and to our delight starring the likes of Lesley Joseph and Ruth Maddock.

If June was not enough to whet your appetite then July has an even better packed month for you. We start this month with a black Irish comedy called Beauty Queen of Leenane. This play was written Martin Mcdonagh whom you may be more familiar with from his In Bruges fame. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a story of a lonely spinster and her overbearing mother. We at City Connect are looking forward to attending this play.

July then shows us more comedy in the form of Alarms and Excursions which is a show which has been broken down into eight short plays which consist of new material especially written for the 75th anniversary season. As we near the end of July and enter into August, we are delighted by the return of Mowgli and his adventures with that lovable dancing bear Baloo in this children’s classic The Jungle Book. It has been mentioned that this production as presented by the Birmingham Stage Company brings a totally new aspect to the story.

Cambridge Arts Theatre calms down the energy with a performance of JB Priestley’s Eden End set in the early 20th century concentrating on hidden heartaches of the main family of the tale. If that’s not enough The Woman in White, a favourite classic Victorian chiller, has confirmed that Colin Baker of Dr Who fame will be starring alongside Peter Amory in the Wilkie Collins classic.

As the summer sun hopefully rears its head the Arts Theatre will once again be going al fresco this time in the glamorous setting of the Masters Garden at Corpus Christi College. Cambridge Arts Theatre has joined forces with The Globe (London) and we have it on good authority that their rendition of Hamlet in the open air of such historical grounds will definitely be one not to miss.

For an added bonus and a definite highlight of this 75th anniversary season of the Cambridge Arts Theatre we welcome back a student who first appeared on stage here at Cambridge University to play an important role in Eduardo De Filippo’s The Syndicate. If this gripping tale of organised crime in both Naples and New York was not enough to get your attention, City Connect highlights that this Cambridge student is none other than Sir Ian McKellen.

From September to November as we say goodbye to summer and welcome in the autumn, the Cambridge Arts Theatre 75th anniversary season still keeps us glued to our seats with Moliere’s Tartuffe which has been updated by Roger McGough. We also have End of the Rainbow telling the tale of Judy Garland’s 1968 comeback and another Ayckbourn classic Seasons Greeting graces the programme.

A personal favourite of mine is Alan Bennett’s original play The Madness of George III steeped in royal destinies, political travesties and personal upheaval and I’m looking forward to the autumn when it graces the stage. One of my fellow editors is just as excited if not more so that the National Theatre’s production of an Inspector Calls is also making a welcome return to the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

For those of you with children, Horrible Histories complete with 3D bogglevision is appearing at half term followed by Mike Bartlett’s second play of the season Earthquakes in London.

This fabulous line-up for the Cambridge Arts Theatre 75th anniversary season is rounded off by Nick Fisher’s latest comedy Basket Case and if The Madness of George III was not enough to keep me happy this season then I’m even more pleased to announce that Nigel Havers will be starring in Basket Case.

With such an amazing season of theatre in store, one wonders what the Cambridge Arts Theatre will bring us for Christmas however in the meantime I look forward to living in the present and booking my tickets.

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Alternative Remedies for Hayfever

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about hayfever. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

I’m sorry to hear that your hayfever is impacting you to the point where your social life is compromised. You are not alone in wanting to avoid over the counter remedies such as Beconase, Piriton and Zirtek; although these are great for some people I understand and hear your concerns.

If you would prefer to go the homeopathic route, Allium Cepa is a useful remedy if your symptoms are a streaming and/or itchy nose however if it is your eyes that are giving you more trouble then a better option would be Euphrasia. You haven’t mentioned whether you have used homeopathy before so in case you haven’t I highlight here that it’s treatment works on the principle of like cures like and so a homeopathist is also likely to give you a preparation of mixed pollens that may help in alleviating some of your symptoms. As I am not a qualified homeopath, I suggest you go to to find a qualified registered homeopath to make sure you get the best and most appropriate advice for your exact symptoms.

In the meantime, it would be beneficial for you to boost your immune system starting with a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement along with a course of Echinacea. You do not mention you diet in your question, therefore I stress it would be useful for you to make sure you include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet to keep your immunity high. If you have varied quantity of fish in your diet this will also help if not perhaps add an omega-3 oil to your supplement intake.

As you are against taking over the counter anti-histamines whose main effect is to stabilise mast cells which relieves the nastier effects of hayfever, a more natural anti-histamine is quercetin – this is found in onions, apples and green tea. Alternatively a trip to your local Holland & Barrett to pick up some pine bark could also aid in an anti-histamine like effect.

If supplements are your preference, there has been research to suggest methylsulponylmethane (MSM) can help keep mucus thin, enabling easier breathing, however this is a relatively new dietary supplement so do check whether it is suitable for you. If you are concerned about taking MSM you could try substituting it with liquorice which also has an anti-inflammatory effect which could aid in soothing the irritated mucus membranes. Where possible avoid dairy products because they increase mucus production and can aggravate your condition.

Although your symptoms do sound like an allergy and more likely hayfever, it is worth highlighting that there is a lesser known food intolerance based on histamine intolerance. Such foods that can aggravate the situation if you do have an intolerance would be red wine, matured cheeses, cured meats and tomatoes. The symptoms you would have if you were intolerant to these foods would include runny nose, bloating, sore eyes and headaches. It may be worth asking your doctor if you could be tested for such if you are not convinced that you have hayfever.

Good luck – I hope this answer has been helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly.

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Kipferl – London’s (Only) Austrian Delicatessen

TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson once said “When you go out for a meal you never say – I know, let’s go for a German !”

Like much of Clarkson’s northern, schoolboy humour, there is a good degree of truth in what he says. Germanic food (as found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Belgium) is typically heavy, stodgy and designed to be washed down with beer.

But as is also the case with Clarkson, it’s too much of an oversimplification to stand up to any degree of proper scrutiny.

Whilst you may think of Spanish hams and Italian cheeses as classic wine-bar food, Austria’s alpine regions have just as much to offer.

Kipferl claims to be London’s only Austrian delicatessen, and I’ve certainly not seen any others. Owner Christian Malnig moved to London from the rolling hills of the Thermenregion an hour or so’s drive south of Vienna in the mid-90s.

Predictably, perhaps, a girl was involved – perhaps equally inevitably, she wasn’t the girl that he ended up settling down with.

Stepping into Kipferl, located between the Barbican and Smithfield Market, is like being transported to a little corner of Austria; there is a “Netzplan” of the Vienna U-Bahn on the wall, the shelves are stocked with Austrian wines, lebkuechen spiced biscuits, tyrolean salamis, Almdudler and Stiegl beer whilst the deli counter has a range of Austrian cakes and biscuits as well as cheese from Vorarlberg.

Perhaps the only non-Austrian aspect of the place is that it lacks the down-at-heel, shabbily aristocratic gemütlichkeit of a true Viennese kaffeehaus, such as Hawelka.

I asked Christian to make up a range of wine-friendly food to serve at a German tasting I was organising for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society and agreed to meet him at the end of hours the day before.

Catching up, he told me that coffee shop was now the most successful part of the business, but that his regular wine tastings are now over-subscribed. As a result of both of these, he is moving the shop to a larger premises in Angel in the new year.
The food included was a mixture of breads and, with the box beside me on the train on the way back up to Cambridge, the rich aroma of dark rye bread kept wafting up.

Christian provided some classic wine-bar fare - with a Germanic twist – which went superbly with the wines; there were three sliced meats, a classic cured salami, a ham sausage and some pork with carraway seeds, an air-dried tyrolean salami and an aged hard cheese, with a rind, reminiscent of an appenzeller.

Accompaniments included Staud’s pickled gherkins, sweet and hot peppers and sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese.

As well as the richly aromatic rye bread, there wer plain white, mixed-seed and sunflower seed loaves. For dipping, Christian had provided something quite unusual, if not unique – Styrian pumpkin-seed oil.

Suspiciously dark green in colour, it looks like some kind of Hallowe’en potion and tastes equally enchanting – rich, nutty, toasty and herbaceous.

And to go with the dessert wines we would be having, there were homemade biscuits and Austrian chocolate which, with my newfound chocolate knowledge from a recent tasting, I recognised as superior with the beans coming from South America.

As I have written previously, Austria has been quietly reinventing itself, going from a sleepy and much slimmed-down former empire, to a vibrant and lively country that just happens to have ruled most of Europe for many centuries.

Nowadays, any restaurant with a wine list that aspires to be serious needs to have at least one Austrian wine on the list.

However, given that more than a decade after opening, Kipferl remains London’s only Austrian deli, it seems that the take-up of Austrian meats, cheese, breads is proceeding more slowly than that of its wines.

For the moment, then, those of us in the know will continue to head for a small shop opposite Smithfield market and wonder why more people don’t do the same.

A mixed assortment of buffet food for 25 people costs around £100 from Kipferl.

70 Long Lane

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An Evening of Latin American Music and Dance

City Connect proudly announces the latest charity event organised by ACT – the registered charity for Cambridge University Hospitals, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital.

A pre-festival launch of the Cambridge Summer Music Festival, An Evening of Latin American Music and Dance on Sunday 10 July celebrating the health link between Addenbrooke’s Abroad and El Salvador, will be a unique charity event held under cover in the gardens of the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, by kind permission of Lord and Lady Archer.

This special event in an iconic Cambridge location will be an unforgettable evening with entertainment from The Festival Chorus, world-music performers Kosmos Ensemble and accordian virtuoso Milos Milivojevic who will perform music with a tango flavour by composer Astor Piazzolla, and more including Latin American guitar music and dance demonstrations.

In cabaret style – ticket price includes a hamper with a variety of food for all tastes and dietary requirements and wine. Click here for hamper contents. There will be a paying bar with sangria, South American beer and wine and soft drinks, and a raffle – first prize a Nintendo Wii!

The event will raise funds for Addenbrooke’s Abroad, part of ACT, which supports hospital staff in sharing their skills and knowledge with hospitals abroad, particularly those in developing countries, and in doing so using these experiences to improve the care of patients at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Date: Sunday 10 July 2011
Time: 7.30pm – 10pm (Gates open at 6.30pm.)
Tickets: £45 each including entertainment and hamper

You can buy tickets by clicking here.

About ACT:

ACT is the registered charity for Cambridge University Hospitals, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital. ACT raises additional funds to help make a difference for patients at the hospitals and help save lives.

Charitable donations have bought extra high-tech equipment, paid for additional specialist staff, contributed to environmental enhancements and funded research to improve the understanding of conditions and find possible cures for patients in Cambridge and around the world.

There are many ways to support ACT and help make a difference for patients. For more information go to:

Incendies Fires Up an Uncomfortable Storm

Our City Connect film critic, Louis Maurati, has previewed Incendies which comes out in the UK on 24 June 2011. He gives us a taster of the film without giving too much away and also addresses its accolades which, after hearing him talk about the film, it truly deserves.

Incendies, a French Canadian film, struck a strong chord with the American Oscar Awards Academy when it was officially nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The film didn’t end taking home the prize, but it did rack up eight awards at Canada’s Genie Film awards, including Best Picture and has garnered international acclaim.

Denis Villeneuve, the film’s director, is known for taking risks with his filmmaking. His last film, Polytechnique, told the very controversial story of the true events of the Montreal Massacre in 1989. This time around, with Incendies, Villeneuve adapts a story from stage to film. The stage play was Wajdi Mouawad’s epic 2003 play.

The film is centred around Montreal Arab-Canadian twins who have learned through their mother’s will that their father is still alive and that they have a brother that they never knew existed. The mother leaves them with clues as to how to locate both, but they must travel to their mother’s homeland, only to learn about their mother’s darkest secrets. The performances are magnificent and the story’s timing between past and present is spot on. The cinematography is also quite beautiful.

Like many films that garnered critical acclaim in 2010, this film is far from uplifting and fluffy. Instead, it is emotionally charged and uncomfortable to watch at times, but you will not soon forget it.

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Innovative Disability Project Huntingdon

An innovative disability project in Huntingdon is holding a volunteer day on, Saturday 2 July, to encourage people to support and help make a huge difference to a disabled child’s life. The Inclusion Project Cambridgeshire, which is ran by leading charity Action for Children, is holding the event, from 10:30am to 3:30pm, at it’s offices in Saxongate, Bradbury Place, Huntingdon. The project, which opened in April, 2010, supports disabled children and young people, aged between 0 and 19, in accessing mainstream activities. If a disabled child or young person wants to be involved in an activity such as Brownies, Cubs, a sports club or an activity such as drumming, the project provides support to make this possible. Each child receives one-to-one support and the project helps them to make a successful transition into their chosen activity by working alongside the club and its members. The volunteer fair will offer people the opportunity to chat with staff and get any information they need on the Inclusion Project’s work.

The project is looking for:

  • Volunteers to support disabled children and young people at their chosen mainstream activity.
  • Volunteers to help research clubs and activities in Cambridgeshire.
  • Volunteers with a disability to help deliver training about disability issues.

Anne, whose son was given the opportunity to attend swimming clubs following Inclusion Project Cambridgeshire’s supports said: ”The Inclusion Project has had a huge impact on my son’s life and has provided him with opportunities that were never possible before. To be part of a swimming club and around other children helped him to make friends, get exercise and put a massive smile on his face. It’s a hobby which I can see him doing for the rest of his life now.”

Linda Simmons, Project Manager at the Inclusion Project Cambridgeshire, said: “We urge anyone interested in helping out at our project to come down to the fair and meet and chat with our staff. The project helps disabled children have the same opportunities as other children and we need your help to continue the amazing progress we have made.  No previous experience is required and volunteers can offer as much time as they are able.

“It’s the prefect opportunity to find out about the project and the work we do in helping to support children with disabilities. Volunteering can have such a positive impact on a child’s life and there are so many different ways that people can help.”

The full address for the Volunteer Day is Inclusion Project Cambridgeshire, Saxongate, Bradbury Place, Huntingdon, PE29 3RR.

For more information on the volunteer day or the please contact Linda Simmons or Graham Tuffrey on 01480 451775 or /

Please click here for the charity page of City Connect.

Glastonbury Festival

Our first time at Glastonbury, City Connect decided to read up on their website to find out a little more about the do’s and dont’s for the event. We were told as follows:-

Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and a template for all the festivals that have come after it. The difference is that Glastonbury has all the best aspects of being at a Festival in one astonishing bundle.

It’s like going to another country, a hip and thrilling Brigadoon that appears every year or so. Coming to Glastonbury involves a fair amount of travel, and probably a queue to get in but, when you get past these impediments, you enter a huge tented city, a mini-state under canvas. British law still applies, but the rules of society are a bit different, a little bit freer. Everyone is here to have a wild time in their own way.

The Festival site has distinct socio-geographic regions. The more commercial aspects are around the Pyramid, Other and Dance stages, which feels as if the West End of London a Saturday night has been removed to a field and thoroughly beautified. Unlike the West End, visitors are on every guest list, from the night time cinemas to the biggest gigs.

But that busy whirl of excitement is not to everyone’s taste. To accommodate the more laid-back reveller, more chilled out areas like the Jazzworld and Acoustic areas are in easy walking distance. If that’s still not the relaxed state a Glasto-goer is after, there’s also family oriented areas like the Kidz Field, the Theatre and Circus fields. And if you’re into the more alternative, less noisy aspects of festival life, you can always head up to the Field of Avalon, the Tipi Field, and the Green Fields. At the top of the site is the Sacred Space – the stone circle is a modern construction, but it has already seen as much celebration and ceremony as some of its forebears. Sun-up on a Sunday morning, with drums and torches and chanting and an astonishing measure of joy from the sleepless revellers at the Stone Circle is a glorious sight to behold.

The Festival takes place in a beautiful location – 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon, an area steeped in symbolism, mythology and religious traditions dating back many hundreds of years. It’s where King Arthur may be buried, where Joseph of Arimathea is said to have walked, where leylines converge. And the site is ENORMOUS – more than a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of about eight and a half miles.

Then there are the people, thousands of them in all their astonishing and splendid diversity! There is only one common characteristic of a Glastonbury-goer – they understand that Glastonbury Festival offers them more opportunity than any other happening to have the best weekend of the year or even of a life-time, and they are determined to have it! You’ll meet all kinds of people, of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, lifestyles, faiths, concepts of fashion (or lack of it) and musical taste. Some will undoubtedly wear silly hats, or buy shirts that they’ll never wear again… until next year, that is. The overall vibe of the Festival is consistently mellow and friendly, even in the event of rain and all that comes with rain, a field and thousands upon thousands of tramping feet.

There will be moments when you ask yourself the inevitable: “Why can’t life always be like this?” There will be enlightenments, awakenings, surreal happenings, Damascene epiphanies and people doing the strangest things in public. Sometimes the strangest things you’ll see happening have been booked well in advance – but often it will be people spontaneously reacting to the spirit of the Festival. No two people’s Festival experience will be the same unless they’re tied together, in which case they’re probably part of a theatre company.

It’s best not to come to Glastonbury with a head full of preconceptions and a notebook full of plans of what you want to see. If there are one or two particular bands a day you really want to see, then let your day revolve around them and go with the flow. Hurrying between stages so you can tick off a list of things you feel you must see is not the best way to enjoy Glastonbury. If you can’t get a good vantage point, or aren’t enjoying a show, move on; there’ll be something else in the next field that might just change your way of seeing the world! Often, your best memories of the Festival will be of new things that have startled you with their brilliance.

Have a good look at the Line-up and Areas pages on this site and at the Festival programme when you are on site, or ask at Information points. There are a plethora of wonders to be seen, heard or just caught from the corner of your eye. Glastonbury runs like a huge clock – it is the Big Ben of Festivals after all – and it is best not to stay staring at just one of the huge cogs, however many famous spokes it has. Travel round it clockwise and investigate all the workings of the Festival. All those other stages and attractions wouldn’t be there if they weren’t worth taking in – and they are all capable of surprising a visitor.

One last instruction: whilst at Glastonbury Festival forget all instructions (as long as doing so involves hurting no one) and ENJOY!

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Fashion Trends for Summer

Whether you love floral prints, tropical prints or block colours are more your style, our English summer (when it’s behaving itself!) is allowing you to show off the hot looks this season. The top seven must-have items for your wardrobe this summer are as follows.

Block Colour Blouses

Thanks to Gucci and the comeback of bright colour in gorgeous textures such as silk, chiffon and sheer fabric, block colour blouses have allowed us to bring sexy back to our wardrobe.

During the day they team well with plain shorts – denim – or if you’re more daring florals. Or for a fabulous look at night, team with skinny jeans and killer over-sized heels to die for.

Rock T-shirts

Our American A listers have been donning Rock T’s for ages, with our British companions having always loved the T-shirt with a cool slogan or a funny saying. David & Goliath is no long the order of the day. It’s the rock T’s that are adorning the celebs either side of the Pond at present. The look is cool grunge and is best paired with drain pipe jeans, leather minis and of course the staple killer heels. With regards to accessories the chunkier the better.

Tropicana Camisoles

Although we loved the silky one colour sheen of the camis last season we are loving the exotic twist of floral and tropicana prints. We suggest you wear these camis tucked into a day skirt for the afternoon and the fabulous mini for the evening. This way you can choose big and bright prints as they won’t overwhelm you yet will look gorgeous at lunch or dinner sitting across from your hunky beau. This look is best teamed with nude heels or even flats for daytime.

Sexy Bustiers

If you want to step up the sex factor a notch while keeping in theme with the bold florals or even geometric designs, choose a strapless bustier to sculpt your shape and make all the boys heads turn. If the weather holds this style makes for a pretty festival option and can be paired with a maxi skirt and funky wedges. If on the other hand you want to make an impression in the evening, team it with a short skirt and cinch in your waist with a fabulous belt to give you the hourglass figure that every girl would die for. KIller heels also work well with this option. The trick here is to match them to your belt especially if you’ve been brave enough to go for a spot of colour.

Smart Tank Tops

This simple look has lasted through the ages and is especially useful for the office when paired with simple black trousers and a matching jacket when necessary. If you want to stay on-trend there are many bold block prints out there, our favourite one being from Topshop as it’s in tangerine – this season’s hottest colour. The high street is also adorned with floral and tropical prints in this style so be sure to pick one up. The best part about this top is its versatility as when rushing out of the office for after-work drinks it can be easily teamed with a fashionable black skirt, be it ruffles, lace or even pencil. The trick to pulling off this look is to keep the neckline high sitting just below the collarbone and as our summer has not been that kind to us, if you have time an instant tan on your arms to contour them for a quick slimming fix would make this outfit go from great to fabulous.

Retro Crop Tops

We’ve watched the 50s come back, the 60s, the 70s and God forbid the 80s. We now see the return of the 90s with the relaunch of summer retro crop tops.

Personally we feel this is better as a day look in horizontal and vertical stripes to still keep the bold coloured fashion theme however Jaime Winstone was seen partying into the small hours wearing a white and purple bold print retro crop top with beautifully tailored white trousers. A chic pencil skirt would just about carry off this look for evenings.

Polka Dots

For those of you who have seen the film “Because I Said So”, you may remember the scene between mother and daughter where the mother forces the daughter to wear a red dress with white polka dots. Although in this particular film it got her the “wrong” guy, work this look correctly and have men fall at your feet. Again a perfect combo to rock both at work and at night is bold tangerine with black dots (Dorothy Perkins £28) is a good look with classic tailored black trousers for work. If you are in a daring mood, go for a sheer polka dot shirt with a camisole underneath and when darkness falls follow Amelia Fox’s style by removing the camisole for a sheer and sexy look. Do remember to team this with a sexy but not too revealing bra. As all the attention is on your torso, if not at work keep it simple during the day with black shorts and to make sure you look demure rather than tacky for night-time endeavours team any sheer polka dot shirt with a long black evening skirt – less is more when it comes to skin.

We look forward to your comments about which style suits you best or tweet us directly @CityConnectNews – don’t forget to use the hashtag #todayimwearing.

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Breathtaking Ball at the Savoy

The Breathtaking Ball sponsors Asthma UK. We have included its press release below.

Breathtaking news… Alistair McGowan is to host the Ball but tables are selling fast, so call now to book your place!  

Following on from the success of the Gala Evening over the past four years, and to celebrate its fifth anniversary, Asthma UK will once again be organising a glamorous evening of gourmet food, fine wine and live entertainment, to take place on 23 June 2011 at the exclusive and newly opened Savoy Hotel.

Last year’s event was a great success, raising over £107,000 for the charity. Over 250 guests enjoyed a show-stopping performance from Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, stars of BBC1’s hit programme Strictly Come Dancing, and John Sergeant as the guest speaker.

Tables are priced at £1,500 for ten guests, or £150 per person.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, or to book your place, please contact our Special Events Team on 0800 121 62 55 or

For photos from last year’s Gala click here

23 June 2011
The Savoy Hotel, London
Call:   0800 121 62 55

Bijoumiyo Live – Cambridge Event at The Junction

Bijoumiyo live @ The Junction 22nd July | Get your tickets now!!

This is a press release from Myles Sanko about his next Cambridge event.

Hi All,

This is a big one…

We’re playing live as part of the popular BBC Radio 6 Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club on 22nd July 2011 at Junction 2!

Tickets (£12 adv) are selling fast but we need to sell 20 more by the 23rd June, which is this Thursday so please if you haven’t already get yours now – for further details either click here or check the Junction website.

Taste of London

City Connect supports Taste of London and its award winning chefs raising money for great causes. Our editors look forward to attending, in the meantime here is a press release from Taste of London.

Wareing’s Pork Pie with a Taste of London set to raise over £20,000 for Action Against Hunger

The pie’s the limit at this year’s Taste of London restaurant festival as award winning chef, Marcus Wareing puts his culinary skills to the test and creates a classic pork pie, made of only the finest ingredients London has to offer, in a bid to raise over £20,000 for humanitarian organisation Action Against Hunger.

The London pie will be sold at the Taste of London restaurant festival on Friday 17 June at the Action Against Hunger pop up restaurant, in aid of the organisation’s Love Food Give Food appeal. Sales from the exclusive pie will help Action Against Hunger to save the lives of malnourished children and their families in the world’s poorest countries. Guest chefs set to join Wareing at the pop up across the four days include Theo Randall (Thursday), Cyrus Todiwala (Saturday) and Jun Tanaka & Mark Jankel (Sunday).

Wareing, who has recently opened The Gilbert Scott within the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is looking forward to the challenge. “British classics are making a comeback at the moment and we’re very proud to be at the forefront of this. The Gilbert Scott pork pie with piccalilli will be our icon dish at Taste, something to really remind us all of the fantastic produce that is available locally and within the UK as a whole. We’re hoping to raise a lot of funds for Action Against Hunger to continue their valuable work.”

A regular at Taste of London, Mayor Boris Johnson, said: ‘London is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant place not only in its population, but also in its food. Taste of London is a great showcase for these gastronomic delights. We are fortunate to have access to local supplies of a cornucopia of world-class, mouth-watering locally sourced produce. This pork pie is classic British cuisine at its best, made even better with London ingredients and with proceeds going to an excellent cause to boot.’

Taste of London will mark the launch of Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food appeal which seeks to unite food lovers across the world in turning their passion for food into Action Against Hunger. Culinary fans can support the appeal by hosting their own dinner party this summer. People can sign up online and download materials to help with their dinner party, including invitations, place cards and recipes from some of Britain’s most loved chefs.

Visit to find out more and for the chance to win a giant London pork pie exclusively cooked by Marcus Wareing for your own Love Food Give Food dinner party.

Taste of London will return to Regent’s Park from 16 to 19 June. For more information visit

Newmarket Racecourse Celebrates 25 Years of Newmarket Nights

Newmarket Nights began back in 1986 and from the very start this Cambridgeshire music event has gone from strength to strength. This year’s fantastic line-up includes Peter Andre, Tom Jones, Boyzone and Scissor Sisters. In the last 25 years, Newmarket Nights has entertained over 1.5 million music lovers and is aiming to break its own attendance records this year while celebrating its quarter of a century anniversary.

Friday 17 June sees the first of Newmarket Nights special commemorative line-up kicking off the celebrations with Jules Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Jules is no stranger to Newmarket Nights and has played 2 consecutive years at the racecourse and he will be including special guests Sandy Shaw and Ruby Turner at his concert.

If Rhythm & Blues is not your scene, the popular Scottish band Texas fronted by Sharleen Spiteri will be performing old favourites such as I Don’t Want A Lover and Summer Sun interspersed with more recent tunes from their 10 albums. They will be performing at Newmarket Racecourse on 25 June.

For those who are seeking a stylish event during the day, look no further than Cambridgeshire’s most reknowned and fashionable Ladies Day which returns to Newmarket Racecourse as part of the Piper Heidsieck July Festival on 7 July. This flat racing event has often been referred to as the sporting and social engagement of the summer.

This year, fashion at the festival returns in association with Cambridge’s Grand Arcade and our editors are definitely vying for the spot of Best Dressed Lady and/or Best Dressed Couple. This competition is open to everyone and is a wonderful way to combine fashion and sport in hopefully what will be a glorious summer day. Gates open at 11am with racing starting at 1.30pm with last races around 5pm. Tickets are reasonable priced starting at £10 for Garden Enclosure to up to £36 for Premier Enclosure. Also note this festival continues on 8 and 9 July inclusive. To book online or for further information, visit

For style tips to ensure you look your best on Ladies Day, take a look at our article Fashion at the Races written by City Connect fashion writer and Cambridge-based personal stylist, Katie Bowen.

The fun however does not stop there, continuing on with the 25th anniversary of Newmarket Nights, in July the racecourse also brings you the singer James Blunt – an ex-officer who has captured our hearts not only with his debut album Back To Bedlam but also through the wonderful charity work he does for Help for Heros and the British Legion. Tickets for James Blunt are available for his Newmarket performance on Friday 15 July.

Should acoustic tinged pop not be your thing and you would like to add a little more energy and disco to your night out, Friday 22 July promises to deliver all this and more with the presence of Scissor Sisters whose frontman Jake Spears is sure to entertain. If you need even more great music to get your feet moving, Friday 29 July brings Anglo-Irish pop stars The Wanted to the stage. This group is not just for teenyboppers as they were nominated for Best British Single this year at the Brit Awards.

If that’s not enough testosterone to whet your appetite, Friday 5 August sees Boyzone take to the Newmarket Nights stage. For all of you who were unable to get Take That tickets for their July concert, the Newmarket performance of the Irish pop group Boyzone is a must for your calendar.

As we come to the end of the Newmarket Nights 25th Anniversary, we are spoiled with yet another Cambridgeshire appearance from Tom Jones who needs no introduction and will be strutting his stuff on 20 August.

Last but by no means least, Peter Andre will be closing the Newmarket Nights 25th Anniversary season on 27 August.

Newmarket Nights ticket prices range from approximately £16 plus for Garden Enclosure, £20 plus for Grandstand & Paddock, and between £31 and £40 for Premier Enclosure. To book your tickets, please contact Newmarket Racecourse on 01638 675 500.

City Connect editors will be attending a selection of the concerts so do say hello if you see us. We look forward to seeing you there or reading your comments below.

Images reproduced from and

Water For Elephants Runs Dry

City Connect: “Our resident film critic, Louis Maurati, reviews Water for Elephants for City Connect with current beau of the moment Robert Pattinson and his leading lady Reese Witherspoon – will their on-screen chemistry beat Bella & Edward’s? Although this film was released in late April, it is still catching audiences eyes and continuing to be shown in cinemas across the UK including Empire Leicester Square, The Apollo Piccadilly, select Odeon cinemas and some Arts Picturehouses. This film is not due for release on DVD until late September, so we therefore urge you to catch it now on the big screen while you still can. To whet your appetite, please read our resident film critic’s review below and/or watch the trailer.”

Director Francis Lawrence has some achievements and also some flaws in this film. The age of the Great Depression is accurately and quickly presented to the audience, although some of the characters may look a bit too lavish to be living on a circus train. The best performances come not from the stars, but the supporting players in the film. Robert Pattinson plays the film’s lead role, Jacob, quite accurately, but there is a lack of credibility at time with his character. Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal as Marlena, Jacob’s love interest, may be the biggest disappointment of the film. Her performance is flat, unbelievable, and there is all but no chemistry between the two actors on screen. Credit, however, must be given to Christoph Waltz, portraying Marlena’s husband August. August is the owner, ringleader, and most feared man in the circus troupe. Waltz puts together the perfect combination of psychotic jealousy, snake charm, and desperation to pull off the role quite remarkably.

The film, Water for Elephants, is based on the highly acclaimed novel by Sara Gruen. The screenplay, written by Richard LaGravenese, sees changes in some of the key characters and plotline – the story is portrayed as an extended flashback inside a present day frame. The flashback takes the audience back to 1931, where Jacob, played by Robert Pattinson, is a veterinary student at Cornell University when his parents tragically die in a car accident and leave him suddenly homeless, orphaned and broke. On a whim, he decides to leave his whole life behind him, including the last semester of his schooling, and hitches a ride on a train out of town. Little does he know that the ride that he has hitched is far from ordinary – he has accidently run away with the circus, the Benzini Brothers Circus. The story quickly takes off and soon Jacob finds himself working as the Circus’ Vetrinarian. He develops a close and unusual relationship to the circus’ owner and wife, August and Marlena and soons finds himself lusting Marlena.

Images reproduced from, and
Video reproduced from YouTube / clevverTV

The Sick Children’s Trust Supports Mother Fighting for Her Child

City Connect  reports on a story about a family from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk whose two year old daughter, Rhiannon, was diagnosed with croup and rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. The charity, The Sick Children’s Trust, supported them when they were in need of accommodation to stay close by her bedside.

My name is Caroline Clarke and I stayed at The Sick Children’s Trust Acorn House for nine nights in March 2010 when my daughter Rhiannon, aged two years, suddenly became very poorly with croup, which led to further complications.

Rhiannon needed specialist care and was therefore referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, which is over an hour away from our home in Suffolk. It was such a relief to be given the security of my own private bedroom at Acorn House, the charity’s ‘Home from Home’ on the hospital grounds, just five minutes away from the ward. It enabled me to get a good night’s sleep, knowing that I could be back with Rhiannon within moments should I be needed for any reason.

The house gave me a private space to gather my thoughts, have a bath and take good care of myself so that I could find all the physical and mental energy required to get through each day and give Rhiannon the support she needed. Life at that time was an emotional rollercoaster and Acorn House certainly helped give me some stability during an otherwise crazy time. The house manager, Joy, was extremely helpful and very willing to sort anything out, and was always available for a chat. There was a calm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the house, which was just what I needed.

At the weekend, my husband was able to bring our other son Cameron, who’s five, to stay with us at the house. It was great to be all together like a normal family again, something so simple that we all take for granted until things are turned upside down by events like this. Having Acorn House there meant that Cameron could see his sister, but also be with his mum, so I could offer him the support he needed too. Acorn House had everything he needed – he was able to enjoy his time watching DVDs, using the play rooms or playing basketball outside, just like he does at home.

The experience we went through as a family affected us all very deeply. We are all very grateful to Acorn House and The Sick Children’s Trust for allowing us to remain together as a family during this difficult time, so we could give both our children all the love and support they needed.

The charity is currently building a new eight bedroomed ‘Home from Home’ at The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge so it’s great to know now that soon it will be able to provide support to even more families like mine when they need it most.”

Caroline, Rhiannon’s mum

Picture reference:  Clarke family.jpg

Picture caption: (left to right) Rhiannon, Cameron and Caroline Clarke

Image reproduced from:

Hotel Schloß Dürnstein – Wachau, Austria

Tom Lewis – City Connect’s wine critic – talks about the beautiful Wachau valley in Austria and one of his favourite hotels in the region – Hotel Schloß Dürnstein. This luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel is a 17th century castle with picturesque views across the River Danube.

I used to live in in Austria and later regularly travelled to Vienna on business.

The city’s beautiful and historic first district is like a huge, UNESCO-protected, pedestrianised, open-air museum with gilded marble churches, imperial palaces and the vast Stefansdom cathedral – as well as a selection of excellent restaurants and wine bars.

However, there’s more to Austria than Vienna and on a couple of occasions, I borrowed a company car and made the short drive up the autobahn to Dürnstein in the Wachau Valley (also UNESCO-protected) to stay at the Hotel Schloß Dürnstein.

The Wachau Valley is a meandering stretch of the Danube between Melk and Krems with steep terraces on either side where some of Austria’s greatest Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners are grown by the likes of Prager, Knoll and the co-operative, Domäne Wachau. It is also an area of great natural beauty as well as home to many pretty little villages.

Dürnstein is perhaps the prettiest of these with a short cobbled main street (an underpass takes most traffic well away from the village centre) along which are to be found quaint buildings between which is to be found an occasional glimpse either down to the river on one side or up to the vineyards on the other.

High up above the vineyards lies a ruined castle where Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner from 1192 to 1194 and from where there is a breathtaking view of the village, with a church spire said to be the prettiest in Austria.

Such, then, is the setting for the Hotel Schloß Dürnstein (schloss means “castle”, but here it is more in the style of a chateau – a grand and extensive country house) overlooking a sheer drop down to the river on one side.

The hotel is now a mix of old-fashioned, central European charm, gemütlichkeit (cosiness) and luxury with all  the modern trappings such as a swimming pool and sauna.

The building was originally constructed as a magnificent renaissance structure in 1630 and the castle belonged for centuries to the Counts of Starhemberg, one of the oldest houses of Austria. Acquired from them in 1937 by Raimund Thiery, it was later converted into a hotel with the old features maintained and preserved and became one of the first non-French members of the Relais & Chateaux association of luxury hotels.

Now almost 400 years old, it retains a grand and individualistic old-world charm which I immediately found very different to the usual anonymous business chain hotels I tended to use in central Vienna; the rooms are furnished with antiques and have a view either of the fortress, the river or the village of Dürnstein.

Perhaps the most pleasant aspect to a stay, in the summer at least, is to have dinner on the terrace where on one memorable visit I had a delicious roast lamb with rosemary, as part of a four-course meal, and a Riesling from the hotel’s own vineyard (made by Toni Boden of the nearby Prager winery) whilst watching the sun set down the valley.

I followed this with a quick stroll around the village and decided that business travel has its perks every now and then.

A two-night package at the Hotel Schloß Dürnstein costs from €556 for a standard double room.

Hotel Schloß Dürnstein GmbH
3601 Dürnstein
Tel:+43 2711 212

Images courtesy of

Question Time at Addenbrooke’s

Inspired by the BBC’s famed Question Time programme chaired by David Dimbleby, ACT presents an exciting debate at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on current affairs within the NHS to be chaired by Quentin Cooper, Science Journalist and current presenter of BBC Radio 4’s weekly Material World. ACT is the independent registered charity for Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) – including Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Date: Tuesday 14 June 2011

Time: 5-8pm

Venue: The Martin Cohen lecture theatre in the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute on the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site.

Panel members include six clinicians of world-class reputation, amongst them three of the six best UK specialists in their fields according to The Times’ ‘Britain’s top doctors’ directory of November 2010. These are Professor Adrian Dixon, Professor of Radiology at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant Radiologist at CUH, Professor John Pickard, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Cambridge and Clinical Director / Chairman of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre based at CUH and Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Institute of Metabolic Science based at CUH.

The event is free to attend – but places are limited.

You are invited to suggest up to two questions on current affairs within the NHS which will be considered for the evening’s debate.

Please include your questions when you RSVP to Susanne Owers on or call the ACT office on 01223 217757.

About ACT

ACT is the registered charity for Cambridge University Hospitals, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital. ACT raises additional funds to help make a difference for patients at the hospitals and help save lives.

Charitable donations have bought extra high-tech equipment, paid for additional specialist staff, contributed to environmental enhancements and funded research to improve the understanding of conditions and find possible cures for patients in Cambridge and around the world.

There are many ways to support ACT and help make a difference for patients. For more information go to

Image reproduced from

Six Summer Picnic Wines from Naked Wines

Cambridge is a great place to be in the summer – we get some of the driest weather in Europe’s northern half and we have lots of green spaces.

I can think of no other city where you are likely to see cows grazing in the centre – and that it is against the backdrop of King’s College and the river just makes it even more special.

After a couple of years of wash-outs, we are also shaping up for that much-promised and equally derided barbecue summer of a while ago.

There are plenty of spots to choose from, but my own favourites in Cambridge include sitting at the top of Cambridge castle with a view of the city’s skyline, lounging by the river bank at Trinity College watching tourists struggling to steer their punts (answer: use the pole) or, further afield, in Grantchester Meadows.

The energetically inclined could take in all three of these, via a walk through the city’s historical centre which retains its quirky medieval layout and either a punt or a stroll to Grantchester.

Naked Wines, one of the most exciting wine retailers in the internet-only space, recently sent me a case of their six best picnic wines for review; the company’s “house-style” is well-made, fruit-driven wines that impress straight out of the bottle – just what you need for a picnic – and you could do a lot worse than packing one of these, pre-chilled, into your hamper. Most are sealed under screwcap, which is another handy feature.

Best for lazy lounging – Benjamin Darnault Picpoul de Pinet, £9.99

Picpoul is a somewhat unusual grape from southern France’s Languedoc region; it makes refreshing, crisp wines with a hint of seashell and sandiness – in a good way. This one is sandy coloured in the glass with aromas of ripe, thick-skinned grapes and a refreshing cox’s apple and pears acidity, with hints of varietal sand and seashells; a good, light quaffer with just 12.5% alcohol, despite its warm-climate origins.

Best with light foods – Arabella Viognier 2011, £7.99

I like Arabella’s wines a lot – this one is lemony, with lots of ripe tropical fruit, some typical varietal peachiness, elderflower, rounded acidity and a touch of mid-palate sweetness. There is some ripe toastiness and a good, balanced finish. An easy quaffer with the acidity and body to stand up to picnic foods like quiche, chicken drumsticks and salad leaves with cherry tomatoes.

The most perfumed – Classic South Pinot Gris 2010, £10.49

Golden in the glass, this is very very floral and perfumey on the nose, almost Gewurz-like with aromas of lychees and beeswax; there is good, tropical acidity with passionfruit and guava and some honeyed weight.

The best rosé – Castillo de Tafalla Rosado 2010, £6.99

As something of a recent convert to food-rosé, I thoroughly enjoyed this ripe and juicy more-ish Spanish rosé.  With raspberry aromas, rounded acidity and a pleasing hint of spice it has a good, savoury finish. Instantly appealing and more-ish, it also feels very well-made and is excellent value.

The most celebratory – Sacchetto Rosé Brut NV, £10.49

If you are looking to make a statement, nothing says it better than fizz and for the wow factor, a bottle of pink fizz takes some beating. The added body of a rosé also makes this a little more food-friendly. With aromas of redcurrants and raspberries on the nose and an easy-drinking feel, it’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

The best with hearty food – Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2010, £9.49

If your picnic food is a little more hearty – pork pies and sliced ham, rather than mixed leaves and salad – then the Darnault Minervois is what you need. It has ripe bramble fruit and plums on the nose, some soft vanilla-y tannins, gentle hints of cloves and spice with good, balanced acidity and tannic grip on the finish.

Recommended wine

The fizz makes the biggest statement here, but for all-round appeal – and value too – I recommend Castillo de Tafalla Rosado.

All wines are available from Naked Wines, with up to 33% cash back for Naked Angels.

Copyright Tom Lewis 2011

Images reproduced from

The Business Lounge Dinner – Midsummer House

The Business Lounge invites senior executives and entrepreneurs to a special networking dinner at 2 Michelin star Midsummer House on Midsummer Common in Cambridge on 25th August at 7pm.

The 4 course dinner with wine costs £95 per person and is open only to Company Owners, Directors, CEO’s, Chairpersons, Principals or Vice-Principals.

One of only seventeen 2 Michelin star restaurants in the UK, and the only one in East Anglia, Midsummer House nestles in the grounds of Midsummer Common beside the River Cam. Chef Daniel Clifford spent the first 12 years of his career in some of the best restaurants in the UK and France. This Victorian villa encapsulates Daniel Clifford’s vision for culinary perfection and is home to some seriously stylish food.

The Business Lounge dinner will take place in the private dining room of Midsummer House which houses a sophisticated bar and terrace for alfresco drinks with stunning views of the River Cam.

The Business Lounge is an exclusive business dining club for which invitation is only open to Company Owners, Directors, CEO’s, Chairpersons or Principals. Their focus is on providing an intimate audience of peers in a relaxed informal environment where over great food and wine business issues, battle stories, investment opportunities and much more are discussed and debated with the best business breed from across London, East Anglia and the South East.

Great networking takes place before and after dinner where long lasting business relationships are built with the right people.

To reserve your space, please email

Places are limited and do go quickly so please book early to avoid disappointment.

The Business Lounge is governed by “The Chatham House Rule”. For further information regarding “The Chatham House Rule” please visit The Business Lounge website.

Outspoken Delivery – Cargo Bikes for Cambridge

In answer to your question about eco-friendly couriers check out the innovative Cambridge cycle courier company below.

Outspoken Delivery will be a leading partner in an EU sponsored initiative to develop and promote the movement of light goods by bike.

The three year EU project, CYCLE Logistics, running from May 2011 to 2014 aims to achieve a significant reduction in energy use for urban freight transport through final delivery of light goods by bicycle rather than motorised delivery vans. Partners in the Cycle Logistics project include local authorities, private sector companies, cycling organisations, communication experts and energy agencies from over eight European countries. The kick-off meeting involving all the project partners was held in Copenhagen last month (May) and was attended by Rob King, Managing Director of Outspoken Delivery.


Rob said: “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting project and look forward to building a cargo bike culture in Cambridge and beyond.” Outspoken Delivery will be leading the ‘Goods Delivery’ application area of the project; developing new and innovative delivery solutions using the breadth of experience across Europe to determine best practise. It is anticipated that Outspoken will rent three additional cargo bikes with electric assistance enabling them to support the expected increased level of business.

As a leading partner in the EU project, Outspoken Delivery will host a meeting in Spring 2012 which will bring all the partners to Cambridge to discuss progress, share findings and to plan the next stages of the project. Rob added: “European cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam have well developed bike cultures and cargo delivery solutions and I am looking forward to introducing similar approaches to Cambridge.”

Other aspects of the project include encouraging tradesmen to adopt bicycles as a means of transporting themselves and their equipment to their customers and prompting private individuals to use their bikes for shopping trips by providing appropriate baskets, bags and trailers.

The new Outspoken Delivery cargo bikes are set to become an established feature in the Cambridge streets leaving their motorised competitors behind.

Outspoken Delivery is Cambridge’s innovative local courier firm. The company use specially designed bicycles to transport everything from documents & files, computers, engineering parts and food & drink across Cambridge City and beyond.

Services include same day, next day, London runs and specialist deliveries

Rob King – Managing Director of Outspoken Delivery

The service is 100% emission free (excluding a little hot air), safe and reliable (they even deliver 3-tier wedding cakes) and flexible, provided by an enthusiastic team who love the job they do.

Disability Etiquette – Wheelchair Users and Impaired Mobility

This is the first part in a series of articles which raises awareness of commonly encountered disabilities and offers advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. We open the series looking at the disability etiquette surrounding wheelchair users and those with impaired mobility.

This series is based on the disability etiquette material published by the United Spinal Association and is an opportunity for City Connect to promote the excellent charity work done by disability charities, in particular Scope, Whizz Kidz and City Connect aims to help readers avoid disability discrimination by providing clear guidelines on disability etiquette.

People who use wheelchairs have different disabilities and varying abilities. Some can use their arms and hands. Some can get out of their wheelchairs and even walk for short distances. Taking this into consideration and the points below should help you avoid a faux pas.

  • Wheelchair users are people, not equipment. Don’t lean over someone in a wheelchair to shake another person’s hand or ask a wheelchair user to hold coats. Setting your drink on the desktop attached to someone’s wheelchair is a definite no-no.
  • Don’t push or touch a person’s wheelchair; it’s part of her personal space. If you help someone down a curb without waiting for instructions, you may dump her out of the chair. You may detach the chair’s parts if you lift it by the handles or the footrest.
  • Keep the ramps and wheelchair-accessible doors to your building unlocked and unblocked. Be respectful of their space, displays should not be in front of entrances, wastebaskets should not be in the middle of aisles and boxes should not be stored on ramps.
  • Be aware of wheelchair users’ reach limits. Place as many items as possible within their grasp. And make sure that there is a clear path of travel to shelves and display racks. When talking to a wheelchair user, grab your own chair and sit at her level. If that’s not possible, stand at a slight distance, so that she isn’t straining her neck to make eye contact with you.
  • If the service counter at your place of business is too high for a wheelchair user to see over, step around it to provide service. Have a clipboard handy if filling in forms or providing signatures is expected.
  • If your building has different routes through it, be sure that signs direct wheelchair users to the most accessible ways around the facility. People who walk with a cane or crutches also need to know the easiest way to get around a place, but stairs may be easier for them than a ramp. Ensure that security guards and receptionists can answer questions about the most accessible way around the building and grounds.
  • If the nearest public toilet is not accessible or is located on an inaccessible floor, allow the person in a wheelchair to use a private or employees’ accessible toilet.
  • People who use canes or crutches need their arms to balance themselves, so never grab them. People who have limited mobility may lean on a door for support as they open it. Pushing the door open from behind or unexpectedly opening the door may cause them to fall. Even pulling out or pushing in a chair may present a problem. Always ask before offering help.
  • If you offer a seat to a person who has limited mobility, keep in mind that chairs with arms or with higher seats are easier for some people to use.
  • Falls are a big problem for people who have limited mobility. Be sure to set out adequate warning signs after washing floors. Also put out mats on rainy or snowy days to keep the floors as dry as possible. (Make sure they don’t bunch up and make the floor impassable for wheelchair users.)
  • People who do not have a visible disability may have needs related to their mobility. For example, a person with a respiratory or heart condition may have trouble walking long distances or walking quickly. Be sure that your museum, hotel or department store has ample benches for people to sit and rest on.
  • Some people have limited use of their hands, wrists or arms. Be prepared to offer assistance with reaching for, grasping or lifting objects, opening doors and display cases, and operating vending machines and other equipment.

The Basics

Ask before you help
Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume she needs help. If the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can usually get around fine. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people. Offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. And if she does want help, ask how before you act.

Be sensitive about physical contact
Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them—even if your intention is to assist—could knock them off balance. Avoid patting a person on the head or touching his wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

Think before you speak
Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to his companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great; just talk to him as you would with anyone else. Respect his privacy. If you ask about his disability, he may feel like you are treating him as a disability, not as a human being. (However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with children’s natural curiosity and do not mind if a child asks them questions.)

Don’t make assumptions
People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. Don’t make decisions for them about participating in any activity. Depending on the situation, it could be a violation of the law to exclude people because of a presumption about their limitations.

Respond graciously to requests
When people who have a disability ask for an accommodation at your business, it is not a complaint. It shows they feel comfortable enough in your establishment to ask for what they need. And if they get a positive response, they will probably come back again and tell their friends about the good service they received.

Terminology Tips

Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet.
Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask.

Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining.

With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”

It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time!

Many people who are Deaf communicate with sign language and consider themselves to be members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. They refer to themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” and may be offended by the term “hearing impaired.” Others may not object to the term, but in general it is safest to refer to people who have hearing loss but who communicate in spoken language as “hard of hearing” and to people with profound hearing losses as Deaf or deaf.

Images reproduced from and

Business Consort – Charity Golf Day

Business Consort would love to invite you along to their charity golf event – a day of enjoyment, corporate networking & fundraising to be held on Friday 8th July at Styal Golf Club, Cheshire.

Any funds raised on the day will be donated to the Five Stars Scanner Appeal who are aiming to raise £1million to buy a new MRI scanner to be housed at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – a fantastic cause!. A prize draw will also be held on the day with some fantastic prizes.

Schedule for the Golf Day
10.30am – Refreshments on arrival
11.30am – 18 holes Golf Course with a 2 tee start (1st & 10th) so all teams will arrive back at the Clubhouse at a similar time – 11 teams ONLY 9 teams left!
3.30pm – Back to the Clubhouse for sandwiches, prize draw & awards…& more importantly you can also get yourself a nice drink from the bar to celebrate!

TEAM OF 4 PACKAGE – £149 + Vat – Entry of team of 4, refreshments & green fees

Entry of team of 4, refreshments & green fees
Corporate branding on email invitation to over 100,000 North West based businesses
Dedicated email campaign about your business to our website subscriber base
Inclusion in monthly newsletter which is sent to all 1.2 million subscribers
Full page coverage of the event in Mingle Magazine – the business and lifestyle publication
Display of banners & promotional materials at the actual Golf Day
(To discuss sponsorship, please call Julie Roberts on 0800 334 5784)

Submit your team of 4 online or call Julie Roberts on 0800 334 5784.

About Business Consort

Business Consort, is now one of the UK’s Premier Networking Forums with over 1.5 million subscribers. They host over 130 events a year including training courses across the UK. Each monthly networking event attracts on average 75 guests and there is an array of high profile speakers for delegates to enjoy too. The events are held in exclusive venues such as Aston Martin & Bentley showrooms and their cocktail parties are extremely popular events with over 100 guests & attract a high calibre of decision maker. For more information, please check out their website.

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Sue Ryder Midnight Walk

This year Sue Ryder – St John’s Hospice is hosting its fourth Midnight Walk for the women of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire areas. Due to its past success the St John’s fundraising team are encouraging women to join them for a late night stroll.

The reason for the Midnight Walk is to walk in memory of loved ones. By walking you also help support St John’s Hospice which takes patients from Bedford and its surrounding areas. St John’s Hospice cares for patients aged from 18 years, who go to them for relief from the daily symptoms they endure caused by illnesses including cancer, heart, lung and liver diseases, multiple sclerosis and end of life illnesses.

Last year an amazing 501 people took part and raised £85,000. This year the fundraising team are enthusiastic to get more women to walk. Check out the video below to see footage from one of last year’s Midnight Walks.

This year the walk shall see a few changes, the biggest change is that there shall be the option to walk a 5 mile or 10 mile route. The team hope this will encourage more people to have a leisurely walk past the stroke of Midnight.

Another change is the month the walk shall be taking place, usually in May, this year the walk is set to take place on Saturday 9 July at the Bedford Athletic Stadium. This is in hopes for a warmer evening climate, to make the walk a more pleasurable experience.

However, attention all men, do not feel left out the fundraising team are searching for all the help they can get. If you are interested in volunteering on the night then please let the team know.

If you are interested in taking part in Sue Ryder – St John’s Hospice’s Midnight Walk then please register online now and take advantage of their early bird offer.

For more information please contact the fundraising team on 01767 641044.

Alternatively, please email them at

Images reproduced

About the charity

Sue Ryder provides care to people living with complex long-term and end of life conditions through their homecare, hospice and residential care services. They help those affected by cancer, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, stroke, brain injury and other life changing illnesses. For more information, please check out their website.

Turner Contemporary – Margate

Tony Foster – City Connect’s art critic – visits the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate and reviews the gallery and it’s opening exhibition “Revealed” which brings together work by the visionary British painter JMW Turner and six contemporary artists. The exhibition runs from now until 4 September 2011.

The Lonely Planet Guide describes Margate as a town still striving to recapture its Victorian heyday of candy-striped beach huts, donkey rides and Punch & Judy puppet shows. But these days it’s more about amusements and chippies, and outside summer has the melancholy air of a town past its prime. That would just about sum it up except perhaps for the new arts influx.

Driving into Margate you can’t miss the collection of white angular boxes at the end of the harbour. Standing in stark contrast to the Victorian brick and Perspex, the Turner Contemporary (designed by David Chipperfield) appears clean and functional if a little clinical. Walking back from parking off the high road (the gallery car park is big but short on spaces) I was struck by the smaller detailing as I crunched across a path of white cockleshells and then the rubber entrance matting, spongy as a damp beach underfoot.

Apart from the far too small staircase to the main galleries the interior is well laid out. Inviting lots of natural light and sea views, the main entrance hall window sports an impressive yellow striped installation flanked by mirrors, Borrowing and Multiplying the Landscape by Daniel Buren.

There are to be no permanent exhibits at the Turner but regular shows throughout the year, a wise choice for its limited size. The opening show Revealed, is intended to link closely to the location and to Turner himself. Teresita Fernández’s work Sfumato, a glass bead pool and Eruption, wall mounted graphite fragments are both inspired by volcanic eruptions. Lava flows and reining ash clouds which in turn link to Turners own work close by, The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains, in the Island of St Vincent. Both apparently refer to the explosive announcement of the new galleries opening onto the Kent art scene.

I was hard pressed to see any links to the Conrad Shawcross work, who’s impressive mechanical windmill with converging lights and spiral sketches all seem to follow their own rhythmical patterns. Although it was said Turner showed a great interested in mathematics, science and philosophy.

Next door, there could be no mistaking the direct references made by the artist Ellen Harvey. Propped up against a wall and in giant carnival letters the title of the piece Arcadia, stands outside a scaled down version of Turner’s own private gallery. Now turned into it’s own amusement arcade hang glass, etched and back lit views of today’s harbour, including empty arcades, chippies and tower blocks all glowing in the darkened space.

The final room is devoted to the work of Russell Crotty, surfer, amateur astronomer and artist. Three large painted orbs and giant sketchbook show ‘nice’ views of the local shorelines and incorporate his own thoughts as written responses to the landscape. The work seems lightweight but there is a clean simplicity, which is perhaps right for this show.

The new gallery is well worth a view if you’re local, but you’d have to be a keen art enthusiast to warrant the 90-minute train journey down from London.

City Connect Suggests

Situated on the North Kent coast, Margate is only a 90 minute drive or train journey from central London. The Turner Contemporary landmark gallery is just over half a mile along the seafront from Margate train station and close to all main bus routes in the town. The gallery is just a short walk from Margate town centre and the Old Town, where there are a number of artists’ studios, galleries and lively cafés and restaurants.

High speed trains from London St Pancras and Stratford International run every hour and take just 90 minutes. If travelling by car, there is plenty of on-street parking near the gallery on the Harbour Arm, as well as pay and display car parks close by at Trinity Square CT9 1HR and College Square (Morrison’s multi storey) CT9 1QA.

Admission is free and the gallery is open from 10am to 7pm every day except Mondays. However it is open on Bank Holiday Mondays.

Turner Contemporary
Kent CT9 1HG
Tel: 01843 233 000

Image courtesy of Tony Foster

Learn Your Way to Success

How small businesses make it to big businesses by staying ahead of the game.

I hear every day that SMEs are eliminating all but essential over heads in order to survive our current recessionary climate. Few shrewd business people would disagree with this principal but I often find myself challenging; what are the necessary expenses? Rent, heating, lighting, staff wages, production costs, these ensure that your business exists but will investing only in these business basics ensure that your business succeeds?

Ask any small business owner what their overwhelming business concerns are and they will tell you that making more sales, getting more clients or increasing their profits are their main needs. Customer loyalty, growing revenue, good staff retention these must surely be considered fundamental to an effective and successful business, and they are all areas that require strong planning, good sales expertise and excellent communications systems.

Great quality sales training is the one service that you can invest in that will bring all these benefits to our businesses and yet so often we hear that training budgets have been slashed in response to difficult financial times. In any business this strategy is risky but in the SME sector this is more dangerous than ever.

After the last recession overwhelming evidence demonstrated that those companies who continued to invest in training and development came out of the slump better placed to grow and out-perform their competitors. They had strong, loyal and highly skilled work forces, who were all working together in a disciplined way.

Naturally the revenue produced by sales is the life blood of a business. Whether you have a sales team who are not exceeding expectations, or in fact no real sales team at all it is essential that those people who are responsible for generating profit to your business are well trained.

Sales is a process, it is a series of steps that a prospective client goes through when evaluating your business. A good sales process is made up of a diverse selection of activities and methods, each of which must be properly executed and the whole sales process must be monitored at all times. A really strong business needs a sales strategy, it needs precise sales activities to support this strategy and it needs these activities to be measured and the results evaluated. It is this type of business practice that will really bring results and which cannot be competently executed by a willing amateur. These business practices are what a competent trainer can impart to your staff and which, with constant mentoring and development, will grow into the most powerful tools in your business’ arsenal.

Beyond this, staff who receive training from their employers develop far higher levels of commitment to that company. Most national salary surveys show that business employees in both public and private sectors value good training provision above even remuneration when considering whether to remain loyal to an employer. Training makes staff feel valued, it is a great way of recognising and rewarding their success and thereby increasing their levels of motivation. In the SME environment where large salaries and six figures bonuses cannot be considered retaining staff through other methods should be a key consideration.

A well planned and executed sales process can increase conversion rates by up to 30%.

In order that you draw lots of loyal customers to your business their experience when working with you must be a positive one. From the service they receive from your staff to the way that your business’ systems work. You must not leave their encounter with you to chance. Taking control of the customer’s experience of your business is essential to controlling your eventual profits. This is what good sales training makes possible.

How can I find sales training that really works?
It should always be totally bespoke training, crafted to suit your business, delivered in a way that you are comfortable with. At SOS we will meet with you, on our time, for up to 3 hours, we will talk about your business, its’ needs and what your management style is. We will work out not only what your team specifically need to know but what is going to be the most appropriate way to teach it to them. Then, taking into account the specifics of the individuals who will be learning as well as the goals of the business we will write tailor made training content that delivers that message. We check our results with great follow up that focuses on ensuring that actions are being put into real use in the workplace. We will even provide reports on the outcome of the training on each individual. In short the training is written for your business, about your business and we take responsibility for making sure it works.

About the Guest Author
Karen Dunne-Squire is the MD of Select Outsourcing Solutions Ltd. They provide sales expertise to small businesses with a large focus on training and mentoring. Karen has worked within front line sales and senior level sales management for the last 14 years and has a reputation for developing high performing teams. Karen believes that good sales training is the bedrock of any business.

Image courtesy of Select Outsourcing Solutions