Looking For A City Break Not Far From Home, Canterbury Is A Stunning Cathedral Destination

Looking For A City Break Not Far From Home, Canterbury Is A Stunning Cathedral Destination

Reading Time: 6 minutes


If you are looking for a City Break not far from home, Canterbury is a stunning Cathedral destination in Southeast England, which really will tick all the boxes and cater to all palates and passions.

Canterbury was originally a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages.  The Ancient walls which were originally built by the Romans, are the boundary for its medieval centre with cobbled streets and timber-framed houses.

Canterbury Cathedral founded in 597 AD is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Church, boasting Gothic and Romanesque stone carvings and stained-glass windows. https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/

Ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle its medieval centre with enchanting cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. Canterbury Cathedral, founded 597 A.D., is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion, incorporating Gothic and Romanesque elements in its stone carvings and stained-glass windows.

There are plenty of wonderful buildings and churches to explore as well as the Cathedral, if you enjoy ancient architecture, but if you want to indulge in food, wine and entertainment, this is also close at hand.

On a recent trip we visited The Marlowe Theatre in The Friars, Canterbury. https://marlowetheatre.com/ which is the recently refurbished Modern theatre for Shakespeare, musicals and stand-up with a studio for contemporary performances.  They often have touring shows and household names appearing there so if you like a good play or musical, book to coincide with your holiday.

There are a plethora of restaurants if you are a foodie, and depending on your taste buds and budget you can’t go wrong with the centrally located Cote Brasserie either for a brilliant brunch, pre-theatre meal or romantic supper.  The food is excellent and the service first class. https://www.cote.co.uk/restaurant/canterbury/,  They also have a great variety of wines and cocktails to toast your time out.  The restaurant itself is huge and spacious and so you can also have an intimate meal at your own pace which is worth its weight these days.

If you are watching your diet or want to eat ultra healthy, then try The Skinny Kitchen, also near to the centre, which is ‘a healthy hangout serving clean, fresh food all day long. https://theskinnykitchen.co.uk/ Whatever your diet, goals or macros there’s something for you. Everyday food with a clean, healthy twist. HOW IT ALL STARTED Back in 2014 three friends realised Ibiza was missing a major part of their lifestyle; healthy food. Fuelled by passion and the desire to bring something totally unique to the food industry, they immediately set about opening Ibiza’s first healthy food hangout. But they didn’t stop there. Now with five locations across Ibiza and the UK, The Skinny Kitchen still focus on that initial concept; creative, clean and healthy food with lots of variety, to suit many diets. MISSION They create healthy…

If you are looking for a reasonably priced but highly recommended place to stay The Millers Arms Built in 1826 is an inn positioned in the middle of Canterbury.https://www.millerscanterbury.co.uk/
Guestrooms feature flatscreen TVs, telephones, work desks and complimentary Wi-Fi. Also included are tea and coffee-making facilities. Hair dryers and free toiletries can be found in the private bathrooms. Rollaway/extra beds can be made available upon request.
Wi-Fi and wired internet are both free in public areas is of this hotel, which has its own garden.
A complimentary breakfast is served every morning. Later in the day, guests can enjoy some food and a drink in the bar.

The Millers Arms is under half a mile from Canterbury Cathedral. Marlowe Theatre, the Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Westgate Gardens and Towers and Weaver’s House are all also within half a mile. Other local attractions include St. Dunstan’s Church and St. Augustine’s Abbey are within easy walking distance as well.

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WIN a special edition PINK FAB Handirest

WIN a special edition PINK FAB Handirest

Reading Time: 9 minutes


Handirest is a new innovation designed and developed by Adrian Houlder, who came up with the idea when observing that his wife and daughter had nowhere to rest their hands when applying their nail varnish. They say that the simplest of ideas are the most successful, and this is definitely the case with this product, which has already been featured in some of the top fashion and lifestyle magazines and TV channels throughout the UK.


The Handirest is an ingenious manicure product for professional and home use. It is simple, easy and helps you to achieve a more comfortable and controlled manicure by supporting your hand and keeping your fingers secure and steady. The specially formed recesses help to keep your fingers still and therefore avoid accidental smudging or mess. The foam cushion is perfect for intricate nail art, applying false nails, and nail polishing. Handirest can be used anywhere. The cushion’s design means that one pad fits both your left and right hands, and any hand size.


I met up with Adrian, who is still amazed by the overnight success of his invention, and he told us the incredible story of how it all came about.

‘The idea for Handirest began whilst I was watching TV with my family. An advert came on showing a woman painting her nails with her hand held up in the air. I asked my wife and daughter how they managed to paint their nails without their hands being supported? My wife said that she rested her hands on the table but found it uncomfortable. My daughter then suggested that I design something to overcome the problem.

The following day, I decided to find something soft, something to keep the fingers secure and something easy. I found some foam at work, I put my hand on it quite firmly and the foam wrapped around my fingers. I thought “this is exactly what is needed”. I then shaped a piece of foam with channels to support the fingers.

I took the piece of foam home and showed it to my daughter, who thought that there was probably a similar sort of device on the internet.   We went online and did a search, but we could not find anything that supported both hand and fingers.

At the time, I believed that was the end of it. I took what I had made back to work and left it in my reception area. To my surprise, the shaped foam started drawing a lot of attention, and became a talking point when customers were in the reception.

During one conversation, it was suggested that I should look into seeing if there was a market for the product, and also apply for a patent just in case something may come of it. I took my customer’s advice and came up with the name Handirest.

I began to research and speak to various nail technicians to come up with an improved version. After a few months, I had something ready to show. Shortly after completing the initial design, a customer came to collect some work that I had completed for a local radio station. The customer noticed the Handirest and we started talking about it as she just happened to be in charge of the beauty show which aired once a week. To my surprise she asked if she could feature Handirest on their show.

175As my background is manufacturing, I knew very little about marketing and retail sales. I spoke to a marketing company who offered to help and suggested they start a facebook account to see if Handirest would draw any attention. On the launch of the Facebook account it went viral with ‘Likes’ appearing every few seconds. This excited everyone and now we had to see if it would sell. An Amazon account was opened at the end of 2012 and Handirest started to jump off the shelf.

I decided that I needed to look into getting a reliable supplier who could produce in volume if necessary, and as a result, this required some changes to the material to make it more durable and high quality product.

At the start of 2013 I had made some changes to Handirest and it was now suggested that I put it in front of the public by doing an exhibition. My marketing company signed me up to the Beauty UK NEC taking place in February. About a week before the Beauty UK, I received a call from a Amazon buyer who asked if they could buy direct from me. I was a little confused as I was only selling very small quantities on my account, but they informed me that they were alerted to Handirest sales, as the conversion rate was almost 100% every time someone landed on my page.

At the Beauty UK exhibition, I was selling a Handirest almost every minute throughout the two day event. I was also approached by Capital Hair and Beauty wholesalers. A member of the Scratch magazine team also took an interest in the Handirest. A few days later, I received a phone call from Scratch magazine, I was told, to my surprise, Handirest was now featured on the home page of their website, and that the other employees at Scratch magazine loved my product.

During the remainder of 2013, I continued to look for a manufacturer to produce Handirest. Eventually I found someone that I felt could produce larger volumes with compromising on the quality of my product.

I continued to make improvements to Handirest and began using a material that would be acetone resistant so that the Handirest could be easily kept clean and wouldn’t be damaged by the acetone found in nail care products.

I decided to take the new and improved Handirest to the Beauty UK 2014 exhibition. Handirest sold more than one every minute over the two days. The feedback from the trade and public was unbelievably encouraging.

During 2014, I started receiving calls from magazines asking to do advertorials on Handirest. Salon magazine, Scratch, Look. Mail On Sunday, At Home With Tess Daly to mention a few. One call was from Cosmopolitan who asked if they could put Handirest in their ‘Must Have’ section of the magazine and would allow me to use their logo endorsing Handirest as a ‘Must Have’.

as-seen-in Cosmo musthaves

Towards the end of 2014, I decided I now had the perfect Handirest, and finished making any alterations. I also felt that I was now ready to market Handirest in a bigger way. I took Handirest to the Autumn Fair 2014 at the NEC, so that I could introduce Handirest to retail buyers. The exhibition was a great success.

Handirest is currently available in over 150 stores, including; Bentalls, Fenwick, Capital Hair and Beauty, Dennis Willams, Alan Howard, Pompadour, and other online stores.

QVC have also signed up Handirest to be shown on their shopping channel.

Every week, there is new interest in Handirest, and I am extremely pleased to also have Handirest endorsed by Sylvia Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds and Lady Penelope, and we are now working with Breast Cancer Care with special edition PINK FAB Handirest.

Contact Details

Web: www.handirest.com

Email: info@handirets.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/handirest

Twitter: www.twitter.com/handirest

Tel: 44 (0) 1494 440022

To be in with a chance to win one of five Handirests, just fill in the form below


View Giveaway

What Makes a Seemingly “normal” 40-Year-Old Man Consider Wanting to Drive His Car into a Brick Wall?

What Makes a Seemingly “normal” 40-Year-Old Man Consider Wanting to Drive His Car into a Brick Wall?

Reading Time: 10 minutes


As a public speaker on PTSD, this is one of the questions I am always being asked. Some of the other questions are ‘what makes me an expert? How does PTSD manifest itself in the workplace? What makes a seemingly “normal”, well-adjusted and often “super” salesman/woman suddenly and inexorably crash and burn, often ending up taking their own life and leaving everyone, including their nearest and dearest, scratching their heads.’ I hope that the following article will help you understand these issues.

First thing, let’s try to establish my credentials. I’m not an expert or a trained counsellor — I’m a survivor and I hope the following background will go a long way to explaining why I’m so passionate about making more people aware of the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I was born on the 8 May 1958 and had two loving parents, an older sister and a younger brother. Looking back, I realise to many I had a privileged background. Not that my parents were wealthy, but we lived in a large house, and my mother, was always looking for ways to earn extra money to subsidise my father’s income, and for a time she was one of the bestselling Avon ladies in the business.  She then created the first ever mail-order company selling collectables and was seen for many years as the foremost expert in this field. My sister was a gifted student with an excellent memory and became a solicitor.

For the first 14 years of my life I had a great time. Yes, I failed my 11 plus, but wasn’t traumatized, and I was lucky that my parents decided to send me to a private school, and after this closed down, I attended a Secondary Modern.   In the first year at this school, I made friends and joined the athletics squad, as I could throw the discus further than most. Then when I returned to school in the September, aged 14, my life turned upside down.

One of the school bullies realised that I was Jewish, and the reaction was a huge shock to me as the year before some of my class had been at my Bar Mitzvah and there hadn’t been an issue!  Nevertheless, this discovery led to me being on the receiving end of a daily barrage of name-calling. Unfortunately, Anti-Semitism, along with other forms of religious discrimination was and still is a huge problem.

In addition to this and according to my class mates, I had committed a far worse crime than my religion, which was to have secured a Saturday job at the local hairdressers.  I had also stopped throwing a discus, and gave up my paper round and going to football.  This all added up in their book to me being gay, which was actually not true, but illustrated how much prejudice there was across the board.

As anyone knows who’s been bullied, once you’ve given up trying to stand up for yourself, you learn to hide your pain and brush off the dirt from your clothes or recover your property, which often would be used instead of a ball in a game of ‘piggy in the middle’. Some of the bullied become jokers, or in some cases become bullies themselves. Those that are bullied find it very hard to let people know the pain they’re in for fear of what will happen if they reveal or stand up to the bullies.

Regardless of our age, we brush ourselves off and stand up, dry our tears and get on with life the best way we can. That’s how the majority survive.

Unfortunately for many, when they leave school and make their way in to the world, they seem to have developed an aura that a bully picks up on. How do I know this? Because it followed me as my working life progressed?

There came a day, shortly after my 39th birthday. As a family, we’d been through a great deal of trauma, and I suddenly became overwhelmed by the pain of my life. I sat in my car looking at a brick wall, trying to decide what speed I needed to reach if I were to drive my car at it so I could stop the pain. I started to write a note, but then I began to think of the ripples that my action would create and shoved the pad in the glove compartment, dried my eyes and went to work.

By this stage, I was on autopilot. My work was suffering, and I was receiving daily encouragement from my bosses to either shape up or shape out. It was only when one of the directors needed to use my car that my half-written letter was found, and the cat was out of the bag. Between them and my wife, I was dragged kicking and screaming into counselling. It was this action that saved my life, as I was forced to face the many demons that had haunted me.

Whilst counselling was the start of the healing process the journey from despair to happiness took many years. There were times when I could have easily slipped back into desolation, but with the encouragement of others I have reached a ‘Happy Place’ knowing that whatever happens in life, it cannot take me back to the where I was. So yes, I feel I am an ‘expert’.

I hope that you now have a better understanding that PTSD is not solely the preserve of the military or emergency services, but it can and does affect far more people than we realise.

So what are the signs we should be looking for as an indicator that someone is having an emotional crisis? The problem is that, as we know, every person is different, and therefore the triggers can be too numerous to fully understand.

However, warning signs can be seen, if you’re prepared to look for them.

  • Has the person changed from someone who’s happy to someone who’s going through the motions?
  • Does the person display swings in personality?
  • Has the person begun to drink slightly more?
  • Has the person’s family been involved in any emotional situation — for example, death of a ?loved one (including a pet), an illness or maybe an accident?
  • Have they suddenly been confronted with an unexpected bill?

All of these, with the exception of drink, did affect me at one time or another. However, as I’m not a clinician, I can’t list every conceivable situation. ?So what should you do if you become aware of any changes? ?Start by being human. Suggest that you have a coffee together and chat. If they don’t want to or feel they’re unable to discuss what is “going on”, as they can’t articulate why they feel like they do, suggest they speak to a counsellor. If they are a work colleague, speak to your line manager or boss and advise them of your concerns. Make sure you make time to spend a few moments every day with them until they feel ready to confide in you. If and when they do, there are at least three things that you can suggest:

1) Recommend that they see their GP.

2) Direct them to our website, www.the365challenge.org.uk where we have an ever-growing directory of help and advice.

3) Contact the Samaritans tel 116123 or visit their website https://www.samaritans.org.


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Cannabis-derived oil goes mainstream, but is it all smoke and mirrors?

Cannabis-derived oil goes mainstream, but is it all smoke and mirrors?

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Chances are, CBD oil is already on your radar. There has been a huge buzz about it recently, due to its reported benefits – health journalism has been awash with stories of this potential remedy for a wide range of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, skin conditions, epilepsy and arthritis. But what is the story behind the hype – and is it all too good to be true?

The first thing to clarify is there is a huge difference between CBD oil and medicinal cannabis. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant – it has attracted interest as it seems to have a wide range of therapeutic properties. One of the other compounds in the cannabis plant, prevalent in the marijuana variety, is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive, and this is what gives users the famous cannabis ‘high’.

CBD oil is now in mainstream use – Holland & Barratt were the first UK high street retailer to stock it, with sales doubling in 12 months, and the health company Naturopathica has recently launched the first CBD lozenges. There are also increasing numbers of UK cafés serving up coffee and snacks containing CBD, to help customers combat anxiety and stress!

A recently retired colleague of ours, a lady in her mid- seventies who is caring for her husband who is suffering from dementia, has noticed a marked difference in his anxiety levels since she has been including CBD oil in his diet.

Cannabis is still illegal for recreational use in the UK, but the medical use of cannabis was legalised in November 2018. However, this is only when prescribed by a registered specialist doctor, and notably the current guidelines do not recommend the use of medicinal cannabis oil – which is ironic, given that the UK is home to GW Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s largest producers of medical cannabis, and the company behind the cannabis-derived products Sativex and Epidiolex.

This has frustrated many, including the parents of seven-year-old Alfie Dingley, an epileptic boy from Warwickshire who suffered up to 30 seizures a day due to a rare genetic condition. He hit the headlines in 2017 when it emerged his family had moved to Holland, where medicinal cannabis oil was legal – with treatment, Alfie’s seizures reduced to just one a month! The family returned to the UK and petitioned the government to make it legal in the UK. Since the change to UK law last November, Alfie now has regular prescriptions for his condition, but the family subsequently launched another petition to encourage doctors to “prescribe full extract oil without fear”, as the guidelines mean that few doctors are actually prescribing it.

While most of the compounds in cannabis are ‘controlled substances’ under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, CBD is not. It is currently illegal in the UK to have products with a THC level of over 0.2%, but by using cannabis plants with lower than threshold levels of THC, and high levels of CBD, manufacturers are legally able to sell products – although these are not officially authorised as medicines, so manufacturers cannot make any medical claims on the packaging. Despite this, many people swear by their therapeutic qualities anecdotally.

Any internet search will lead you to an abundance of anecdotal material about CBD. It is widely known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it keeps your body in a state of equilibrium, making it useful in treating medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain. It is easy to take – there are e-liquids for vaping, sprays for under the tongue, CBD capsules and CBD balms to apply to the skin.

Oxford University is carrying out a £10 million research programme into the medical use of marijuana, so hopefully it won’t be long before science and legislation catch up with what the public already seems to know.

Meanwhile the popularity of CBD oil grows daily, and if the coffee and cake at your local café includes this magical ingredient to reduce stress and anxiety, might you be tempted…?

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Reading Time: 6 minutes


If you are looking for a bit of escapism in these turbulent times (didn’t even mention the B word), and if you can get the kids farmed out if you have any, or want to get away with a loved one.  Then you should seriously consider a City Break in the number one destination for adventure and diversity – London.

I am going to give you three options only to get you started, with some linked suggestions – ranging in price so that it does not pull too hard on your purse strings, or could equally cost you an arm and a leg if you go for broke.



I have a rather interesting suggestion for you if you enjoy an artsy boutique hotel with an edgy interior.  40 Winks, which has housed both Hollywood Royalty and the more ‘under the radar’ glamorous guest is run by the charismatic but cosy Interior Designer David Carter who welcomes his guests as if they are family.

40 Winks is situated in the trendy eclectic East End of London but is only three minutes’ walk to the tube and only a 10 minute ride into the City Centre.

Each room is artfully designed and just stepping inside the door take you into another World.  Perfect for the quick getaway.  The prices are incredibly reasonable too, coming in at around £115-150 per night.

A great boarding platform in every way as it will set you up for the great venture into town, where there are a plethora of places popping up to explore and immerse yourself to finally sweep away those Brexit blues.




The Karaoke and Bao Restaurant which is opening in May should be your first port of call.

BAO is the great Taiwanese restaurant that took London by storm with its funky, animated steamed buns that have been plastered all over Instagram. So everyone is talking about the latest opening coming to Borough in May which will join the other outposts including BAO Soho and BAO Fitzrovia, XU Teahouse and Restaurant, as well as the original BAO BAR stand which remains at Netil Market.

Oh, joy of joy it’ll have a karaoke room named BAO KTV?!  This is incredible, as normally with Karaoke and bao never the twain will meet, although you can see why because Karaoke is incredibly popular in Taiwan so it all makes sense.  It opens on May 6th.  I have already made my reservation.





Lyaness has recently been reinvented from Dandelyan which was voted best bar in the World.

The bar rebranded as Sea Containers remains in the Thames-side ground floor position it’s been in for the last few years. But everything inside is different. Named after Chetiyawardana’s 2018 International Women’s Day pop-up that ran at bar Super Lyan, the interior is a gorgeous palate of powder blue, greys and golds channeling a 1920s chic and a 1970s retro. The work of creative director Jacu Strauss, and the team at Lore Studio, who also created Amsterdam’s Super Lyan with Chetiyawardana’s, Jacu.

There is also a sensational view across the Thames.

The cocktails are incredible as you would imagine from this great mixologist and you will relish both the drinks and the ambience in this mini paradise.



If you are a fan of jazz then why don’t you come to the legendary Pheasantry in King’s Road on 9th June to see our very own Dee Anderson perform with her band Topsyike.  They are a funky Jazz fusion band of some notoriety, and will be performing their own compositions as well as some jazz standards such as Don’t Explain by Billie Holiday, Put a Spell on You and Amy Winehouse’s Love is a Losing Game.  You can listen to the music whilst devouring a very tasty Pizza and a glass of wine as this iconic venue has in recent years been taken over by Pizza Express.


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