Reading Time: 5 minutes


A late dark day in December, an email pops up in an old email inbox from an unknown address inviting me to a lunch in Margate!   Margate?  Where is that exactly, somewhere on the South Coast I believe, think I may have visited with grandparents as a child, but not really sure.

On further investigation I discover it is from someone called Richard Selwyn-Barnett.  The name rings a vague bell, but I warily reply asking who he is and how he even got my email address, as it is an email I hardly ever use these days.  He replies he has had it since the late nineties when he was based at Pinewood Studios, as was I, when he was doing a project with Norman Wisdom.

The response comes that he is an ‘Introducer’, a natural matchmaker, although not in the romantic sense, who puts groups of people together who may have a mutual synergy and share common ground.  I am curious and dig a little deeper, he sends me his mobile number and I call it.

Quentin Tarantino & Richard

I have a surprisingly interesting conversation with this man, and he confirms that he is hosting a lunch in Margate, his home town the following month and that it will be attended by film producers, media artists and other industry heavyweights who are going to be there.  He names them, and I am impressed, oh what the hell I think, nothing ventured, and even if this guy isn’t for real, the very least I will have achieved is that I have checked out Margate, which is being heralded as ‘the new Shoreditch’. because of the new creative premises popping up, so I will have achieved something on the day.

The drive to Margate was a good one, albeit a little longer than I thought, but I arrived there early to check it out, it was still Winter so the sea gulls were in full voice, but the beaches were deserted.  I opted to warm myself up with a cup of hot chocolate in one of the small cafes still open for the locals off season, and eaves dropped on some pensioners taking their morning cuppa, and quickly decided that Margate wasn’t for me as it hadn’t quite ‘arrived’ as a creative hub.  Maybe in ten years time!

Richard had organised the lunch at the most exclusive hotel in Margate ‘The Sands’ which seemed strangely out of kilter with the rest of the sleepy English seaside town, with its trendy designer interior and upbeat vibe.  I got into conversation with a young bartender who looked equally out of place, as I ordered a drink before the group arrived.  He confirmed that the area was due for a major uplift as artists like Tracey Emin were moving back in, and the drab appearance of the old town would soon be history.

As the group arrived, so did Richard Selwyn-Barnett, and he was true to his word as he introduced me to an impressive group of industry achievers, Joan Lane, who developed the award winning King’s Speech film, Bruno Tilley, the first brand creative at Island Records and others who prefer to remain anonymous.

Richard & Justin Chadwick

It was an impressive lunch and afternoon, and really the start of something great.  Since this lunch two years ago, several projects have been started, numerous events attended and we have all been introduced to a variety of other industry members who have enhanced our lives.

I have just been told that a new category of Award has recently been created for ‘Best Introducer’ – guess who won it?  I think you know – but not before time, as Richard is a rare breed, and he does it for the pure passion of putting people together.  I am extremely grateful to him for contacting me after twenty years, and as he says when I try to thank him ‘just blame it on Norman Wisdom’.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


With all of the wonderful alternative and holistic therapies I have tried, Reiki had alluded me until last week when at a Retreat in Somerset  just opened by Lynne Franks, I decided to try it.

I had booked a massage with the lovely Helen, a resident practitioner, who is also an expert in Reiki and a clairvoyant, and as she described the Universal energy of healing called Reiki, felt compelled to book a session.

Helen had already told me that whilst rendering the treatment, she had flashes of insight into the person, in the form of images or names of people or even glimpses of their future.  She asked me if it was something I would be interesting in hearing throughout the session.  I was fascinated, and a little sceptical, even though I firmly believe in holistic healing and even clairvoyance, I had arrived with a severe lower back pain which I was sure would not be shifted in one session.

How wrong could I be?  Helen was obviously an expert in the field of Reiki, and came up with names she could have not possibly known before.

The practise of Reiki in Japanese is translated as ‘miraculous or divine spirit or intention’ and I could not describe it better.  After the session I felt elated if not a little light headed, and Helen told me to drink lots of water, which I did.

The following day my back pain had disappeared.

I couldn’t believe it either – it was miraculous, and Helen had not touched my body at all throughout the Reiki session, just held her hands across the areas she felt needed help, which were the painful areas and my left knee which had also been giving me a bit of discomfort.

Descriptions of Reiki seem to be Universal healing energy administered through healing hands, and even though I had questioned the validity, it had worked.

I have to confess, Helen seemed extremely tuned into me and a great practitioner in the art of healing and Reiki, which was an awesome combination, and so if you can’t get down the The Hub, at least contact an expert in your area and try it.

But for those of you who are believers in Universal energy, it is a good start, and perhaps you can begin by following these simple principles

Just for today do not worry
Just for today do not anger
Honour your parents, teachers and elders
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to every living thing

You can find a Reiki practitioner by logging onto

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Reading Time: 8 minutes


THE HUB AT NO 3 in Wincanton, Somerset, is a powerhouse of healing and alchemy, with Lynne Franks OBE as its heroic leader – heading up the unique fusion of magic and divine feminine, in true warrior fashion, within the DNA of its foundation.

Men are also very much a part of the picture, and both male visitors and mentors are welcomed to the Hub, as the male energy is equally respected as an essential ingredient of spiritual growth.

Lynne is famously known as the inspiration behind the dynamic but quirky PR guru Edina in Absolutely Fabulous played by Jennifer Saunders, but since her own fearless spiritual journey, Lynne has transformed into more of a Wise alchemist whose insight into each of her mentees is remarkable as she pinpoints their path and helps them rediscover their mission and self-worth.

I was determined to discover how accurate her reputation for personal growth had become and have recently returned from three days at The Hub in Wincanton, only to discover that Lynne really is a legend in her own lifetime, and that is quite separate from her Abs Fabs fame.

I arrived early to avoid the snow, and was welcomed with open arms by Lynne and her team who looked after me as soon as I arrived, but gave me the space to find time to meditate and soak up the healing atmosphere.  I also managed to chant my mantra of many years, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, with Lynne who is a confirmed Buddhist.

The two buildings of The Hub have been restored and transformed by the passion of Lynne herself over almost two years, with all the trials and tribulations that come with a project of this magnitude, and which also involved a great deal of spiritual healing and cleansing, as it had been an old pub and drinking house.  I also heard through the local grape vine, that Lynne had created a bit of a stir in the area, even offending some of the local church going community with her ‘holistic’ messages.  Lynne has remained steadfast throughout as I understand, still respecting the people of the area, but sticking to her guns which is admirable and maintaining her integrity as always.

I had booked for three nights, and on arrival was taken to Rose room which was a lovely tranquil space with a cosy bed adorned with a duvet of Alpaca feathers – totally healing in itself.  I had the best night’s sleep in a long time, and this apparently is a shared experience of all the guests.

I then decided to sample all of the holistic treatments available as well as a special one-to-one experience with Lynne herself, which I was really looking forward to.

They started with the lovely Saskia Marjoram who administered Flower aromatherapy and healing with her incredible insight into flower essences.  I have to confess I was a little dubious at first, but quickly understood the relevance of the remedies, as I had used Rescue Remedy over the years, and was reassured by Saskia’s knowledge and confidence.  She seemed to pick the remedies associated to me personally, so I quickly knew where it was heading.

I then had a massage and facial with Helen, who I discovered is also a Reiki healer and clairvoyant, and as if this is not enough, completely tuned into me and identified areas of my body and indeed my life that needed attention.  She also explained more about the Hub, saying that they felt that the ‘healers’ and ‘witches’ are congregating there, which I found mesmerising and awe inspiring.  I have to agree, as spookily on the last day, I realised that my lower back pain had completely disappeared which was definitely down to the Reiki and so would really recommend this treatment too.

The one-to-one with Lynne Franks was life changing, as she not only tuned into me, but channelled my inner world and guided me into where my focuses should be.   She was pragmatic and honest as well as being sensitive and nurturing, and I know I have changed an essential part of my own self-discovery and future passage.

There was only one other guest at the Hub, who was a beautiful young woman from the corporate world who was there to redress the balance, and she and I built our vision boards together under the enchanted eye of our mentor.  The results were extraordinary with the vision boards reflecting our inner souls rather than skin deep illusions.

We all connected as Lynne had predicted and in many extraordinary ways, with shared and similar life experiences to help heal each other, and it made me feel that the Goddess was working her magic to bring us all together.  The food is organic, healthy and delicious and all part of the collective collaboration at meal times.

I had heard that when you visit the Hub, it facilitates the beginning of a new life and way of being, and incredibly I found all of this to be true.  Having said that, you have to be ready to change your life, and be open to all possibilities, and if you are – be brave, face your fears and visit Lynne Franks and her healers at The Hub at No 3, where your future awaits.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


As I landed in Denmark several years ago for a very special music conference, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of warmth from the people, in the restaurants and bars, with a general feeling of wellbeing.

As I strolled along the canal on a freezing January afternoon, the sheepskin rugs that adorned every chair outside the bars and eateries, and glow of the outside log burners and heaters filled the air with a feeling of comfort and welcome.

So when I started to learn about Hygge, which is the Danish way of keeping that feeling of warmth and security, in spite of the temperature outside, it brought back all those memories.

It is not surprising therefore that Denmark has again been voted one of the top three countries for happiness of its inhabitants.  This is not to do with money, and in fact Denmark has a stable government but very high taxes.  But the people are happy to pay, as they feel it will just add to their own economy and provide even more security and comfort.


After some research, the best summary of this philosophy is depicted in Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg.  As one great review says ‘Others books will tell you how to be hygge. This is the only book that will show you’ and this is true.  Read on to discover the outline of the book in a nutshell, as the description does not disappoint the reader, and I fully recommend that as we are struggling to find solace in these post festive Winter months, there is a way of overcoming and even relishing the colder climes without drinking too much wine or spending too much money with retail therapy.

‘Though we all know the feeling of hygge instinctively few of us ever manage to capture it for more than a moment.

Now Danish actress and hygge aficionado Marie Tourell Søderberg has travelled the length and breadth of her home country to create the perfect guide to cooking, decorating, entertaining and being inspired the hygge way.

Full of beautiful photographs and simple, practical steps and ideas to make your home and life both comfortable and cheering all year round, this book is the easy way to introduce hygge into your life.’

So are you ready for a big hygge, I know I am, and I am going to make it my business to try it for myself, and bring some joy into my home this Winter – the Danish way!




Reading Time: 5 minutes


The word ‘retirement’ would always conjure up images of sweet old couples downsizing from their family houses to move even further into the country or seaside location of their dreams to live a simple life of quiet and calm whilst playing bowls at the local club or strolling along the promenade having planned their ‘twilight’ years long before their ‘sell by date’.

The entire concept of ‘retirement’ is really dying out, especially with folk living longer and being given the opportunity to explore the world after the ‘nine to five’ or selling their own company to explore new pastures.

How many times do you hear of someone ‘retiring’ and achieving their life long ambition to give up work entirely and to then suddenly expire themselves the following week!  Sorry to be so morbid, but it is a fact, and explanations for this demise range from the ‘sudden lack of stress’ to ‘having nothing to live for’ having fulfilled their ambition.

So it is not surprising to learn that it is fast becoming a trend, once the kids have flown the nest or reaching a certain age, that people are moving into town to enjoy all the amenities of city living with the amazing variety of restaurants, theatres, shopping and culture centres literally on their doorstep.

It may be you haven’t reached that stage yet, but are thinking about a life or career change, as the concept of life employment is also changing, with the uncertainty of the economy and diverse career paths on offer.

It is also a belief that living in a town can work out more expensive than living in the country, but our research has revealed the opposite, as with careful planning you can ditch the car in the City and opt for free transport or walking everywhere if you live centrally.  You can also obtain less expensive deals on eating out and entertainment if you shop around or acquire memberships.

The first example is a female freelancer who had decided that marriage and kids was not for her, so at the age of 55, cashed in her pension early, relocated to the East End of London, and now works from home just a few hours a week.  The rest of the time she catches up with exhibitions and theatrical productions, and eats out at least twice a week, all within her budget.

Another is a writer who has relocated to the centre of Birmingham, after his kids left home, where he walks to his office space (as writers never retire) and enjoys all the amenities of the City with its trendy restaurants and bars, shopping and art galleries.

Both are good examples of where focus is changing when it comes to retirement or early relocation, with choices in town outweighing those of rural climes.  So whatever age or income the possibilities are endless.

So if you live in the country and are being deafened by silence, consider your options, and don’t rule out the opportunities that are waiting just a heartbeat away, in the centre of your nearest City.


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