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Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win Nine Bottles
of Bollinger

Win 9 Bottles of Bollinger worth £500

Worth £500, to celebrate Royal Ascot in Style

This month, Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with to offer one lucky reader the chance to win 9 Bottles of Bollinger, worth £500 to celebrate Royal Ascot in style.

Complete a short online survey and voice your valuable opinions and you could also win some great prizes for participating. is an online service dedicated to gathering consumer opinions. Here you can enter a competition by providing your views and opinions in the UK's largest consumer opinion poll and help shape the future of British industry and the products and services that it provides to UK consumers.

Win 9 Bottles of Bollinger worth £500

In exchange for few minutes of your time, we'll enter you into one of our fantastic prize draws where you can win a variety of prizes from new cars and holidays to beauty products and gadgets!

If that's not enough, we'll also give you an instant reward of a £5 online voucher for completing the survey.

  To Enter the Competition

For your chance to win just click on the words Enter Now

Win 9 Bottles of Bollinger worth £500

This will take you to a survey form. Please fill it in with your answers, and your full name and address.


   Sir Ian McKellen
 to Open Blenheim
      Flower Show

Sir Ian McKellen

Award-winning actor Sir Ian McKellen will officially open this year's Blenheim Palace Flower Show.

Sir Ian, one of the UK's most respected actors and star of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, will open the popular show being staged from June 17th-19th in the stunning grounds of the magnificent country house which is home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough.

Sir Ian, who has gained over 60 awards for acting and who was awarded the Companion of Honour by the Queen in 2007 for 'services to drama and equality' says, "I am really looking forward to visiting Blenheim Palace on Friday 17th June. It is 300 years since the birth of Capability Brown. It will be intriguing to see how he transformed the Palace's parkland and how it looks today.”

A record number of floral and garden exhibitors are taking part this year which marks the fourth edition of the Blenheim Palace Flower Show at the World Heritage Site in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, which was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Show Director Matthew Upson, Managing Director of Aztec Events, says: “Blenheim Palace Flower Show has really established itself as one of the great summer occasions and there couldn't be a finer setting for a flower show than the beautiful landscape of Blenheim Palace.”

Upson says the show which was launched in 2013 is hugely popular, attracting tens of thousands of visitors of all ages and appealing to both experienced and novice gardeners.

At the heart of the show will be a 20,000 square foot Grand Floral Pavilion featuring more than 30 floral displays and a large selection of flowers and plants from the UK's finest plantsman.

Blenheim Garden Show

The show will be also feature a selection of inspiring Show Gardens designed by some of the UK's leading garden designers including a garden for the Blackbird Trust created by students. Visitors can also browse and purchase the latest products from hundreds of floral and garden exhibitors, or sample and purchase foods and nibbles in the food marquee.

For more information or to book discounted advance tickets to the Blenheim Palace Flower Show visit

Advanced tickets are priced from £12 for adults and £5.50 for children at the gate. Concessions and family tickets are also available.

  Armed Forces Day
     at Thorpeness
      Country Club

General the Lord Dannatt, guest speaker for Armed Forces Day at Thorpeness Country Club

         General the Lord Dannatt is
         guest speaker at the event

Thorpeness Country Club, which overlooks the coast near Aldeburgh, is marking Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 25th June with three special charity events. A fun ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition during the day with 35 teams taking part and a Mk9 Spitfire air display followed by an evening black tie ball with guest speaker General the Lord Dannatt.

Everyone is invited to make up teams with family, friends and work colleagues to compete in the ‘It’s a Knockout’ event. All that’s needed is a ‘let’s go for it’ attitude and great sense of humour to compete in the wacky and wonderful challenges. Taking place on the lawns to the front and back of the Country Club between 11am and 4pm, the fun event will help raise funds for two Armed Forces charities, namely Help for Heroes and the Household Cavalry Foundation. Entry into the ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition is £150 for teams of six.

Thorpeness Country Club

Spectator tickets are available to come and watch the fun event at £10 per person, while a highlight of the day will be the air display by a Mk9 Spitfire. For an extra £10 you can also have a photograph of the Spitfire signed by the pilot. Entertainment, refreshments and food will be provided by the Thorpeness Country Club and The Dolphin Inn.

In the evening it’s time to dress up in your finest black tie outfit and go along to the ball in the Country Club’s beautiful vaulted function room. Be greeted by members of the Household Cavalry Regiment in their full state dress at the drinks reception; enjoy some fabulous food; take part in an auction for money can’t buy prizes and be entertained with some fantastic music by the Austin Beats, one of East Anglia’s greatest live bands. The ball begins at 6.30pm with carriages at midnight. Tickets are £50 per person or £450 for a table of 10.

Guest speaker, General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL, was a soldier for 40 years concluding his military career as Chief of the General Staff – the professional head of the British Army. Since retiring from active duty in 2009, he has been Constable of the Tower of London and in 2011 became an independent member of the House of Lords. He is a frequent commentator on defence and security issues in the media. He also holds several other appointments including President of Help for Heroes.

Thorpeness Country Club

Looking forward to welcoming Lord Dannatt, organiser Peter Osborne from the TA Hotel Collection, a former lieutenant with the Blues and Royals Regiment says, “We are honoured to have such a distinguished guest as Lord Dannatt joining us for this very special event. I would like to thank all those involved in putting this fantastic day together and hope everyone will have a thoroughly enjoyable evening, while helping to raise funds for our chosen charities.”

For more details and to book, please call 01728 451021

Or email

Information can also be found on

      Alan Kitching
 A Life in Letterpress

Alan Kitching at his South London Studio

The timeless designs of a world renowned typographer and printmaker will be celebrated by a new exhibition, opening at the Lettering Arts Centre this summer. Alan Kitching - A Life in Letterpress is a retrospective of the life and work of an artist and craftsman who has spent fifty years using hand-set type to create countless, beautifully expressive, designs. The exhibition runs from 3rd June - 20th August at the Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, the home of the Lettering Arts Trust. Admission is free.

The exhibition will present a fascinating collection of type, used in a glorious display of expressive colour. A free-ranging collection of sketchbooks, posters, prints, book designs, equipment and assorted artefacts from Alan Kitching’s south London studio will emphasise the creativity of a man who is steeped in the wood and metal type forms and ink of the letterpress. It will also illustrate to all visitors, including students and professionals, how a sound training in lettering can lead to a multifaceted design career.

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever, by John Keats, by Alan Kitching

Beginning with Alan Kitching’s earliest days as an apprentice designer, the exhibition will explore his work at the Experimental Printing Workshop at Watford College of Technology, his time as partner at Omnific Studios and his celebrated designs at The Typography Workshop.

It will also take in Alan’s many years teaching letterpress techniques at the Royal College of Art, before moving right up to date to feature his latest wood and metal lettering designs for magazines, books, stamps, posters and billboards, including work for the likes of The Guardian, National Theatre, British Library, Royal Mail, Random House and Penguin Books.

As a special addition to the exhibition, Alan Kitching will bring a small letterpress to the Lettering Arts Centre for a set of special workshops that will run alongside the exhibition, giving families, school groups and professionals the opportunity to learn typesetting, imposition and printing from a master of the craft.

Kew Gardens poster by Alan Kitching

Sarah Harrison, Executive Director of the Lettering Arts Trust says, “Alan Kitching’s work remains distinctive and an instant reminder of how pieces of equipment that have existed for centuries are able to produce bright, arresting, memorable and contemporary work.

His are an irresistible blend of the old and the new, taking time-honoured methods and tools to produce relevant, influential work and showing the possibilities of the art of lettering. We are looking forward to the gallery being filled with his designs.”

Brazilian Rainforest Print by Alan Kitching

The exhibition takes place at the Lettering Arts Centre, the home of the Lettering Arts Trust, one of only a handful of organisations in the country to offer courses and apprenticeships in letter design and letter carving. The comprehensive training opportunities it manages include apprenticeships, journeyman schemes (shorter placements with Master letter carvers) and lettering workshops across the country.

The Trust stages a vibrant exhibition programme celebrating this heritage craft, regularly featuring the work of its former apprentices, as well as the forefathers of lettering. It also offers a commissioning service that puts the public in touch with some of the UK’s finest artists, to create unique lettered art works for commemorations and memorials. For over twenty-five years it has helped and advised people to commission work for public and private locations.

Special Event for Professionals and Artists: Letterpress workshop With Alan Kitching

This is a one day course in which participants will gain knowledge and experience from an artist who has spent a lifetime working in the design, typographic and letterpress field. Alan will cover the techniques employed in hand type-setting, the attention to detail in the make-up of varying type fonts, proofing, inking up, and printing in colour for small editions on a variety of papers. Each student will take away their own finished prints. Date is 15th June. Price is £75.

Further information is available from  

A new illustrated biography, Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress, has been published by Laurence King Publishing to accompany the exhibition; the limited edition Collector’s Edition includes a hand-printed letterpress signed print, numbered and wrapped round the book to form the jacket. The hardback Special Edition will be available exclusively at the Lettering Arts Centre during the run of the exhibition.

Visitor Information

Alan Kitching - A Life in Letterpress takes place at Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, IP17 1SA. Dates are from  3rd June - 20th August 2016.

Admission is free to all visitors. Opening Times are Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 11am-5pm. The exhibition is close from Tuesday to Thursday.

For more information please visit the website at 

Father's Day Ferraris
     at Hever Castle

Hever Castle's Ferrari themed Super Cars Day

Treat your dad to a fantastic day out this Father’s Day, with Hever Castle’s Ferrari themed Super Cars event and special Italian inspired meal.

With a spectacular collection of Ferraris worth over £9.5million on display, the day will feature classic motors, motorbikes, and fun activities for the kids.

John Surtees, CBE, former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula One driver

   John Surtees, CBE, former Grand
         Prix motorcycle road racer
             and Formula One driver

Presented in partnership with John Surtees and the Henry Surtees Foundation and supported by the Kent division of the Ferrari Owners Club of Great Britain, highlights of the event include a 250 Lusso, 355 Spider and a 458 race car.

Activities during the day include a John Surtees Talk & Question Time at 12pm, a book signing at 3pm, Father's Day Workshop from 11am to 5pm, Father's Day Lunch, and Afternoon Tea from 4.30 to 5.45pm.

John Surtees, CBE, former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula One driver

During the day you can take a selfie with Dad in a Ferrari as a special memento or test out the kart simulator to experience the world of motor sport at the track where Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button honed their skills (small donation required).

Children can take part in a free craft workshop then let off steam in the Adventure Playground and Water Maze, while visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring car club displays and the award-winning gardens.

For an extra special Father’s Day, celebrate with a delicious lunch in the elegant Guthrie Pavilion Restaurant situated in the Italian Garden overlooking the Lake. From the Italian themed lunch menu choose from a tempting selection of soup, salads and antipasti followed by a delicious main and choice of delightful sweets.

Enjoy lunch or tea at the Guthrie Pavilion Restaurant situated in the Italian Garden overlooking the Lake

A Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea is also available offering freshly prepared sandwiches served to the table and a mouth-watering variety of warm mini savouries and sweet bites, all accompanied by a selection of hot drinks. Add to this a complimentary bottle of Peroni, glass of Italian house red, or non-alcoholic option for all dads, for a family meal and Father’s Day to remember.

Lunch is served at 12 noon and 2.00pm and costs £27.50 per person or £11.00 per child (under 12 years). Afternoon Tea is served at 4.30pm and costs £18.00 per person or £9.00 per child. Book online at Both menus must be pre-booked by 5pm on 14th June and payment is required in full at time of booking. Admission to Hever Castle & Gardens is required and is not included in the cost for lunch or afternoon tea.

Gardens open at 10:30am; Castle opens at 12 noon. Last admission 4.30pm; final exit 6pm. Admission Prices – Castle & Gardens: Adults £16.50; Seniors £14.40; Children (5-15) £9.30; Family ticket £43.60.

See the Ferraris and Super Cars at Hever Castle

For further information please visit the website at 

Or call Hever Castle on 01732 865224.

   Catch Yourself a
     Fishy Festival
  in Pembrokeshire

Forage for fish at Pembrokeshire Fish Week

Between 25th June and 3rd July Pembrokeshire Fish Week, in south west Wales, will be celebrating all things fishy with some 200 events and activities taking place countywide for all ages and tastes. From fishy menus to outdoor adventures, arts and crafts to seashore foraging, the festival is a celebration of the county’s superb fish, shellfish and local produce, as well as the spectacular coastline, great angling and maritime heritage.

The week casts off over the weekend of 25th and 26th June with a fantastic opening event, the Milford Fish Festival, organised by the Port of Milford Haven. The family focused, fish-themed event will provide plenty of opportunity to learn how to prepare and cook fish with filleting and chef demonstrations. You can also enjoy fishy feasts while soaking up the atmosphere at the live music stage and put local eateries to the test in the chowder trail.

Throughout the week there will be plenty of leisurely outdoor activities to whet your appetite from guided coastal walks, to boat and fishing trips, cycle hire to seashore foraging sessions. For the keen angler there will be fishing competitions with taster days for beginners and those simply wanting to improve their skills. There are also lots of great family activities to enjoy. Children can participate in beach and river exploring, crab catching or art and craft sessions.

Enjoy the delicious food during Pembrokeshire Fish Week

The nine days are packed with events and activities including plenty for non-fish lovers too, come along and enjoy the fun!

For further information visit the website at

Suggestions for places to stay, activities and other things to see and do can be found on

To request a copy of the free Pembrokeshire visitor guide call 01271 336100.

News & Book Reviews

Vintage Events at
Blists Hill in June

Watch Hotbuckle Productions adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma at Blists Hill Victorian Town

Put a date in your diary for three fabulous vintage events at Blists Hill Victorian Town, near Ironbridge, in June.

Hotbuckle Productions will be coming to Blists Hill for the first time on Saturday, 4th June with their own inspired adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic novel, Emma. Suitable for all the family, the outdoor evening performance starts at 7.30pm on The Green.

Well known for their effortless and innovative storytelling abilities, Hotbuckle will keep you riveted all evening with live music and fast character changes as they portray the perils of matchmaking by a young Emma Woodhouse. First published late 1815 the classic novel is celebrating its 200th anniversary throughout this year.

Watch Hotbuckle Productions adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma at Blists Hill Victorian Town

Come along when the gates open at 6pm and enjoy all the fun of the Victorian style fair before watching the production. Bring rugs to sit on the grass and your own picnic; there’s also a cash bar where you can order interval drinks and chairs can be hired at £2 each; but there are no reserved seating areas.

Tickets for the two-hour performance (excluding the interval) must be purchased in advance online at Prices are £9 for adults; £7 for the 60 plus or children, £5 for students and £29 for a family of two adults and two children.

Watch Hotbuckle Productions adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma at Blists Hill Victorian Town

The performance is suitable for all ages but recommended for those aged eight years and over. Annual Passport Tickets are not valid for this evening; all under 16s must be accompanied by an adult and dogs will not be allowed.

Enjoy a summer evening on the home front as Blists Hill Victorian Town, travels forwards to the 1940s with vintage entertainment, activities and characters from the World War II era at ‘Blitz Hill’ on Saturday, 18th June.

Enjoy a summer evening on the home front as Blists Hill Victorian Town, travels forwards to the 1940s with vintage entertainment, activities and characters from the World War II era at ‘Blitz Hill’ on Saturday, 18th June

The blackout has been lifted for this one night only. Dress up in your finest 1940s civilian costume, pencil-on your stocking seams, grab your ration book and get ready to ‘make do and mend’ at this fantastic fun event.

Go along to the Goods Shed for a lively evening of non-stop entertainment with rousing songs from the Land Army Girls and Shawbury Military Wives Choirs, and a nostalgic variety show in the style of the hugely popular BBC Workers Playtime, which toured factories and workplaces boosting the nation’s spirit and camaraderie.

Enjoy a summer evening on the home front as Blists Hill Victorian Town, travels forwards to the 1940s with vintage entertainment, activities and characters from the World War II era at ‘Blitz Hill’ on Saturday, 18th June

Discover how the townsfolk made the most of food rationing in the shops and cottages and sample a free ration of kali. There’s no need to worry that you’ll be hungry, as there will be plentiful supplies of delicious spam fritters for you to buy from the Town’s Fried Fish Dealers and beer to purchase in the New Inn Public House during the evening.

New for 2016 is the Taking Shelter experience – pre-book a short ride on the Clay Mine railway into our Air Raid Shelter complete with flickering lights and atmospheric wartime sounds. Here you will be immersed in a family experience led by the ARP Warden who’ll be making sure everyone is safe, handing out blankets and sweets for the children.

Vintage singer Sarah Raymond will be in the Shelter entertaining everyone with classic numbers from the 1940s. This 20 minute experience is an additional £2 for adults, £1.50 for children or £6 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children and a timed ticket must be pre-booked at

See spectacular red-hot iron being poured and cast in the foundry; take part in the Home Guard drill; have-a-go at horse driving on The Green and attend an evacuee lesson in the School House.

Tickets to Blitz Hill must be purchased in advance either online at; or in person from Blists Hill Victorian Town, Enginuity, Coalport China Museum or the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre. Prices are £9.50 for adults and the 60 plus; £6 for children aged 3-15 and £26.50 for a family of two adults and two children, under 3s free; Annual Passport Tickets are not valid for this evening. All under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Some activities carry an extra charge.

Bring dad for free on Father’s Day to a Sherlock Holmes themed event at Blists Hill Victorian Town on Sunday 19th June

Bring dad for free on Father’s Day to a Sherlock Holmes themed event at Blists Hill Victorian Town on Sunday 19th June. All dads are invited to come as a guest when they can follow in Sherlock Holmes footsteps at a special detective themed Father’s Day. Admission to the Victorian Town will be free for fathers, when accompanied by another full-paying adult.

Costumed actors from Sundial Theatre Company will perform scenes from their own version of a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery at 11.30am and 2.30pm. The legendary detective and his trusty sidekick Dr Watson were created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late Victorian era and this light-hearted take on his classic mysteries is certain to raise a smile.

Then put your own detective skills to the test by following a cryptic trail set by criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, Holmes’ arch enemy, solve the clues and win a prize. Dad can also pit his strength in a tug of war on The Green at 1.30pm, or why not buy him a pint and pork pie and join in the lively sing-a-long in the New Inn pub.

Other family activities throughout the day include candle dipping in the Goods Shed using Victorian techniques to make multi-coloured candles to take home and a ride on the horse-drawn bus between 1.30pm and 3pm.

Open 10am to 5pm Blists Hill is one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply).

Blists Hill Victorian Town

Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge. The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.

For further information visit the website at 

Or call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424.

2016 marks 30 years since the Ironbridge Gorge was added to UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage Site list. Blists Hill, together with the other nine Ironbridge Gorge Museums, will be celebrating this anniversary throughout the year with a variety of activities and events.

The Queen's 90th Birthday Street Party

St Ermin's Hotel, St James's Park will be hosting its very own courtyard street party to coincide with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Patron Lunch on The Mall in London, Sunday 12th June

St Ermin's Hotel, St James's Park will be hosting its very own courtyard street party to coincide with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Patron Lunch on The Mall in London, Sunday 12th June. In spectacular British fashion, the St Ermin's beautiful courtyard will be draped in bunting - with huge decorated tables for up to 80 people per sitting, where Afternoon 'RoyalTea' – or 'NineTea' for little ones will be served.

With a live jazz band playing throughout the afternoon, unlimited candy floss, Pimm's station, 'Bug Bar' – a cocktail serving, converted VW campervan and coverage of the Mall being shown; those unable to attend the official 'Patrons Lunch' will enjoy a right royal celebration of their own, in the heart of Westminster.

Enjoy a Royal Afternoon Tea at St Ermins Hotel in St James's Park

Stealing the show are the St Ermin's delicious new Afternoon Tea menus: Inspired by Her Majesty's favourite foods and made using only the finest British ingredients, the RoyalTea and NineTea include a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and wonderfully creative sweet treats, including: The Golden Orb – Scottish shortbread with pistachio and a glazed lemon lime curd dome; Empire in a Glass – vanilla custard set with poached Yorkshire rhubarb and royal meringue.

Little ones will be treated to Chocolate Biscuit Cake (served at the Queen's wedding), Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes and one of Queen Elizabeth's treasured childhood treats – Jam Pennies… small jam sandwiches cut into circles the size of an (old) English penny!

Enjoy a Royal Afternoon Tea at St Ermins Hotel in St James's Park

St Ermin's Courtyard Street Party can be booked at  or via bookatable at £35 per adult and £15 per child (including a goodie bag and unlimited candy floss). There will be three sittings of two hours throughout the day: 12-2pm,  2-4pm and 4-6pm.

Pimm's station and additional alcoholic beverages will be available to purchase at an additional cost. A £2 charitable donation will be made to Hospitality Action for each booking. Gluten free options are available and must be requested at time of booking.

For more information about St Ermin's Courtyard Street Party visit 


Father's Day Lunch
at Hogarths Manor

Treat your dad to a special Father’s Day family BBQ on Sunday, 19th June in the landscaped gardens at Hogarths Stone Manor, near Kidderminster

Treat your dad to a special Father’s Day family BBQ on Sunday, 19th June in the landscaped gardens at Hogarths Stone Manor, near Kidderminster. There’s also space to sit and eat in comfort in the newly refurbished Garden Room if you prefer, or the temperamental English weather doesn’t allow for dining al fresco.

A more traditional Sunday lunch will also be served in the AA two rosette Dining Room with a selection of succulent roasts and vegetarian dishes.

Enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch at Hogarths Stone Manor, near Kidderminster

Afterwards youngsters can explore the gardens and play in the two children’s dens near an unspoilt wooded area. A nearby circle of trees has insect, butterfly and hedgehog houses with picture frames for the children to discover more about the local wildlife.

The stunning Tudor style hotel, which nestles in 27 acres of landscaped gardens and grounds, has just been completely refurbished to its former glory, while offering a more contemporary feel in keeping with the aspirations of today’s guests.

Hogarths Stone Manor, near Kidderminster

Starting at 12 noon, the BBQ is £20 per adult and £15 for 2-12 year olds, under 2s free. The traditional Sunday lunch is £30 for adults and £25 for children. To book, telephone: 01562 777 555

Or email 

For further details and directions visit


 Queen's Birthday Tea at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel

Royal Afternoon Tea at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa

Celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday on Thursday, 9th June with one of Her Majesty’s favourite pastimes, an exquisite Royal Afternoon Tea at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa, and help raise funds for Age UK Suffolk. This is just two days before Her Majesty’s Official Birthday on 11th June, which will be celebrated with Trooping the Colour in London.

Everyone looks forward to a little cake on their birthday and to commemorate Her Majesty’s 90th year, The Swan’s chefs have prepared a special selection of afternoon tea treats with a royal twist.

Royal Afternoon Tea at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa

Served course-by-course at tables with pristine white tablecloths in the hotel’s elegant AA two rosette Gallery restaurant, the tempting delights are offered on bespoke Royal Worcester fine bone china. The translucent white and gold design has been specially commissioned for The Swan from Walpole of Stoke-on-Trent, who have also supplied Royal palaces.

Priced at £22 per person, the Royal Afternoon Tea will be served from 12 noon until 5pm, accompanied by the gentle sounds of a live pianist between 1pm and 4.30pm.

To reach the age of 90 is no mean feat and to show support for all those in Suffolk looking forward to milestone birthdays, The Swan is donating £2.50 for every person who joins the Royal afternoon tea party to Age UK Suffolk.

Lavenham Hotel & Spa

To book a table for the Royal Afternoon Tea at The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa call 01787 247477.

Details can also be found on the website at

Sculpture Exhibition
at Borde Hill Garden

Sculpture Exhibition at Borde Hill Garden

Borde Hill’s historic garden has been transformed into an outdoor gallery alive with figurative and abstract works in bronze, resin, stone, metalwork, stained glass and ceramics. They include an elegant installation by international sculptor Angela Conner.

The 17th annual Sculpture Exhibition was opened by journalist and politician Baroness Wheatcroft. ‘This is the best ever sculpture exhibition at Borde Hill… a fantastic range of sculpture perfectly sited in idyllic gardens,’ she said.

The sculptures are strategically placed throughout the garden - with the Elizabethan house as a backdrop – to entice visitors to wander and appreciate an extraordinary mix of art whilst exploring the renowned plant collection that has put Borde Hill Garden on the map.

The exhibition showcases works by both established and up-and-coming artists, offering a unique art experience set within what Country Life has described as ‘One of the country’s truly great gardens’.

Sculpture Exhibition at Borde Hill Garden

Angela Conner was delighted to be commissioned to make her water sculpture, Aquapoise, which can be found in the formal lily pool in the Italian Garden. "Aquapoise visibly and clearly demonstrates balance," she says. "For me, this is reflected again and again in the balance of nature, which surrounds you when you walk through the garden. My work is always about using natural forces - in this case the collection and discharge of water - and the force of gravity."

Andy James, UK CEO of sponsors 1ST CENTRAL says, "We’re extremely privileged to have such a beautiful garden, steeped in history, here in Haywards Heath. As a local employer, we’re delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue our support of the Sculpture Exhibition, which celebrates the work of both new and established artists from the immediate area and beyond."

The Stephenson Clarke family, who have lived at Borde Hill for four generations say, "We hope that the new and exciting artworks will entice and delight our visitors to Borde Hill Garden this summer."

Sculpture Exhibition at Borde Hill Garden

The Sculpture Exhibition runs until 30th September, with admission included in the standard entry price. All works in the exhibition are available for sale.

Borde Hill Garden is near Haywards Heath, West Sussex and opens from 10am to 5pm weekdays and 10am to 6pm at weekends (or dusk if earlier):

For more information visit

Take a Mindful Tea Break with Doris & Co and Victoria's Cottage

Take a Mindful Tea Break with Doris & Co and Victoria's Cottage

Doris & Co, the Somerset company who are specialists in luxury hand made pottery, and especially mugs for tea, is collaborating with award winning blogger and photographer Victoria Beddoes to promote the benefits of taking time out for a mindfulness-led tea break.

Victoria runs the website and recently won Winner of our 'Blogger's Day in the Life' competition at the UK Photography Show, for her stunning images, which included an image of her having a mindful tea break in her favourite tea mug ‘From Small Acorns', made by Doris & Co.

Since winning the competition, Victoria has become a brand ambassador for Doris, recently writing a blog post entitled ‘The Ten Commandments of the Perfect Tea Break', inspired by her Doris mug collection.

Victoria says, "The perfect tea-break is the ideal way to increase your productivity, boost your well-being, as well as keeping you perfectly hydrated. Yet, so many of us, myself included, don't feel like we have the time for a proper break. Slurping hot mouthfuls of tea as I work my way through e-mails is a daily occurrence at Victoria's Cottage HQ. Ever since Doris and Co came to my life, I've had a deep yearning to not just make the most of my Dorisware, but to savour those daily twenty minutes as time for me, and by doing so, have been so much more productive in the day."

Victoria's top tips for taking a mindful tea break include: getting away from your desk, making your tea break an occasion, and surround yourself with beauty. She says, "Mindfulness is gaining huge popularity and that's because it works. The basic idea is working on training your mind to focus on what is happening in the moment, rather than focusing on what is coming up and what has already passed. It does take time to get right, but the payoff is very rewarding. Keep your mind on your tea, the feel of the mug, the taste and warmth of the tea, the flowing conversation and if your mind does wander, as it will, gently bring it back to the moment and enjoy what is happening in that very moment."

For more mindful tea-break tips from Victoria and Doris & Co visit

Queen's 90th Birthday Celebrations at
Blenheim Palace

Enjoy the Queen's 90th Birthday Celebrations at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace has announced a special party for the Queen's 90th Birthday on 12th June. The Great Court will be transformed for the celebrations with brass bands playing at times throughout the day. At 1pm the seven brass bands will come together to play Happy Birthday and the National Anthem in celebration of our longest reigning monarch.

Her Majesty has been a regular visitor to the Palace, staying with the Duke & Duchess of Marlborough on in 1958 and visiting most recently in 1975. Blenheim Palace will also have a big screen on display in the Great Court which will be showing the celebrations for the Queen in the Mall and a Winston Churchill lookalike will also be gracing the party.

A birthday table will be laid by Head Butler, Stephen in The Saloon, Blenheim Palace's State Dining Room with walls and ceilings painted by French decorative artist Louis Laguerre. The Duke and his family have their Christmas dinner here every year. Situated within the Great Court will be food carts and four barrows selling goodies; from hot dogs to a chocolate fountain with sweets and waffles. Visitors can also toast Her Majesty with a glass of champagne from Searcys Champagne Wagon.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets and a picnic to enjoy the 'Capability' Brown Parkland and celebrations or can book a table in the stunning Orangery Restaurant for elevenses, lunch or a quintessential Afternoon Tea. Admission tickets to the Park & Gardens  are required. Price is  Adult £14.90, Child £6.90 and Family £39.90.

For more information about Blenheim Palace click on

Legoland Throws a
Party for the Queen

Enjoy The Queen's 90th birthday celebrations at LEGOLAND®

To mark The Queen's 90th birthday, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort is throwing Her Majesty a street party on The Mall just like the official 'Patron's Lunch' celebrations planned for June 12th – only in miniature and made from LEGO®!

The party scene will be set up on Miniland's very own Mall in front of a magnificent 35,000 brick recreation of Buckingham Palace from 8th June. Like the full size party, the mini version, created in intricate detail from thousands of individual LEGO bricks, will feature rows and rows of picnic tables laden with hampers and champers, Union Jack flags flying and bunting decorations. More than 600 LEGO Minilander guests will be in attendance, representing the charities patronised by The Queen who will be at the Parton's Lunch. And guests of honour, The Miniland Royal Family, will be at the heart of the action.

A 10cm high LEGO brick version of Her Majesty will survey the scene with Prince Philip, joined by Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as well as Prince Harry – and of course the Royal canine companions, The Queen's Corgis and Ludo. When you've checked out Miniland, there's plenty more to explore with over 55 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions.

For details click on

 Sixtyplusurfers Book Reviews

  My Italian Bulldozer
  By Alexander McCall Smith
         Review by
Jenny Itzcovitz

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life and a recent break-up. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found.

With no record of any reservation and no cars available, it looks as if Paul is stuck without transport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.
With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer and so begins a series of laugh-out-loud adventures moving, quite literally, through the Tuscan countryside in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer.

A story that is characteristic of McCall Smith's gift for imagining the unexpected circumstance, this stand alone novel is based on a hugely popular short story. It is a warmly comic holiday read, guaranteed to put smiles on faces.

When I received My Italian Bulldozer with its cover showing a man sitting on a bulldozer in Tuscany, waving, I was unsure what to expect! However, as soon as I started reading I was swept away by the mesmerising story and I knew I was in safe hands.

Alexander McCall Smith has created a very warm and likeable character, Paul Smith, who is a food writer. His girlfriend, Becky, has left him for her gym instructor and he is struggling to make sense of what has happened.

Paul's agent, Gloria advises him to finish writing his book in Montalcino and it is here that his life begins to change. When he takes on a bulldozer as a hired car, he sees the world from a different perspective and other people treat him with renewed respect. He is almost a knight in shining armour - helping others with their problems, and the bulldozer becomes his mighty stallion - always ready to save the day.

I absolutely adored this new book and sat up late into the night savouring every page. I loved the characters and the gentle humour, and of course the romance helped to add some heart-warming sweetness to the tale. The descriptions of Tuscany were beautiful and atmospheric and made the book really special. Pack this book in your suitcase and take it with you on holiday. You'll be guaranteed an enjoyable journey and story. But be warned, you won't be able to put it down!

Alexander McCall Smith

      Author, Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law, then, after the publication of his highly successful No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world.

These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions novels.

My Italian Bulldozer is published by Polygon. Price is £14.99 for the hardback.

For more information about the book click on

     The Girl in the
      Spotty Dress

        By Pat Stewart with
             Veronica Clark
            Review by Simon Fine

The Girl in The Spotty Dress by Pat Stewart with Veronica Clark

When Pat Stewart and her friend Wendy posed on the railings of Blackpool promenade on a blustery day in 1951, little did she know that the resulting photograph, taken by photographer Bert Hardy, would become one of the most instantly recognised photographs of the twentieth century.

The photograph, which was published in Picture Post, followed Pat throughout her fifty-six years in show business and became a centre of controversy when an impostor appeared on The One Show, claiming to be the girl in the photograph. Pat, typically, was not going to allow such an injustice, and she subsequently proved that she was indeed the girl in that photograph. This delightful autobiography tells her fascinating life story.

Pat grew up in Featherstone during the war and fell in love with dancing at an early age. Despite the wishes of her headmistress and her parents that she should train for teaching, Pat was determined to pursue her dream and passed an audition to join the Tiller Girls. It was during a summer season at Blackpool that the photograph was taken.

During this time she dated the singer Dickie Valentine. After two years as a Tiller Girl she became part of a dancing double act, getting her first break through Paul Raymond. After a successful career as a performer, she married the comedian Johnny Stewart and gave up performing to become his agent. Their relationship, both professional personal, is a delightful theme of her story.

Highlights of the book are her tales of living as a Tiller Girl in Soho as a naive teenager, not aware of the area’s then notorious reputation, performing with and befriending some of the greatest stars of the time, including Laurel and Hardy, The Beverley Sisters, Morecambe and Wise and Diana Dors. The story of the show she promoted in Dartmoor prison and her encounter with the notorious Kray twins are quite chilling.

Pat describes herself as a survivor. But reading this book proves that she is also a very talented and resourceful woman who has led an extraordinary life which will entertain many readers, as it certainly entertained me.

Pat Stewart

Pat Stewart, the girl in the spotty dress

Veronica Clark has been a journalist for 27 years, writing real-life features for national newspapers and magazines. During the past four years, she has ghost written seven books.

The Girl in the Spotty Dress by is published by John Blake Publishing. Price is £7.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book click on


  Findo's Mousetrap
       By Graham Paskett
          Review Jenny Itzcovitz

Findo's Mousetrap by Graham Paskett

Findo's Mousetrap is the debut novel from author Graham Paskett. It's a modern romance that melds the Stone Tape Theory, an Anglo-Scottish laird, an Irish Americal media luvvy and high tech computer technology to unravel mysteries that have been lost to the mists of time.

Findo's Mousetrap follows the adventures of Findo Gask and his trusty friend Mac as they and the Mousetrap solve a Royal mystery, a petty theft, and gain notoriety for their unique invention that can unlock events and emotions that have been recorded and held in the very fabric of buildings. Join Findo and his friends on an unforgettable journey.

"I wanted to write something that dipped into literally thousands of topics," explains Graham Paskett, a former journalist and renowned public relations executive. "Readers will travel the world, sail through time, encounter ghosts and get to know the 'Mousetrap' - an ingenious invention that Jules Verne would have adored.

"With its name inspired by Fox Talbot's historical Mousetrap, the world's first camera, readers will discover just how easy it could be to "replay" the events of the past that are currently being stored in brick and stonework around the world. If you already know a thing or two about the Stone Tape Theory, then you can't pass this up.

"But, at its heart, this is a somewhat quirky love story about two people who society says should never have fallen in love, and the many discoveries they make at the hands of modern technology. With all that life throws at us - does love ultimately win? You'll need to read the book and decide for yourself!"

I'm always looking for something special and a little bit different to read, and Findo's Mousetrap is a delightful combination. Written with gentle humour and fun characters, Graham tells the story of Findo Gask and his wonderful invention - the Mousetrap which unlocks events in history so that you can capture events that have happened in the past and find out what really happened. But his invention isn't always greeted as warmly as he might have hoped for and leads to many exciting adventures.

There's also plenty of romance as Findo is instantly captivated by the beautiful Dympna Doyle who works at the BBC. But is she really what she seems? And can Findo trust her. Partly set in Scotland where Findo is an heir to the family castle and estate, the story is like a modern mix of Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes and Love Story, all rolled into one. I was just as enthralled as Dympna!

I really enjoyed the pace and fun of the story and the imaginative scenes in the castle with the Red Room and its unsavoury secrets. Would Findo and Dympna find true love? And would the Mousetrap bring fame and fortune? A great summer read, I was gripped and entertained until the very last page. I look forward to reading the next book by this talented author.

Graham Paskett

             Author, Graham Paskett

Graham Paskett began his career as a cub reporter on a weekly newspaper in Coventry and, after completing his training, working on several titles in the UK before moving into public relations in the oil industry. He runs a successful PR consultancy business specialising in gardening and retail but his real passion is the countryside. He is very proud of his Scottish ancestry and spends a lot of time North of the Border salmon fishing.

For almost 30 years he and his wife have driven past the signs to the small Perthshire village of Findo Gask en-route to the Speyside fishing. It was on the river bank that he first met the Grants, owners of the Glenfarcas Distillery and was introduced to their 17-year old malt whisky.

Graham first started writing Findo's Mousetrap on a trip to Australia in 2000 but it was in 2012 that he really focused his full attention to completing the story. The idea of the Mousetrap did, as it says in the book, begin with a John Humphrys interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Graham has always had a fascination with ghosts and claims to have seen several!

But he is very much a practical man with a love of field-sports and restoring an ancient house in which he lives with his wife in the English midlands, and he makes it very clear that Findo Gask is not remotely based on him.

Findo's Gask is available to buy from Amazon. Price is £6.99 for the paperback.

To buy the book click on

For more details visit the website at     

      The Co-Op's 
      Got Bananas

          By Hunter Davies
               Review Simon Fine

The Co-Op's Got Bananas by Hunter Davies

I am a self-confessed admirer of Hunter Davies. From his 1965 novel, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, through his brilliant football book, The Glory Game, to his biographies of the Beatles and Alfred Wainwright, his work is invariably informative, entertaining and full of emotion. His latest book, The Co-ops Got Bananas, a memoir of growing up in the post-war North, has all those qualities.

Born in Renfrewshire, to Scottish parents, his family moved to Carlisle when he was 11 and he joined the sixth form at Carlisle Grammar School where he achieved a place at University College, Durham. He gained his first writing experience as a student, contributing to the university newspaper, Palatinate before becoming a journalist for Kemsley Newspapers writing for the Chronicle in Manchester.

Davies tells his family story, struggling to make ends meet during the war in the 1940s and the poverty of the post-war years when rationing continued into the 1950s. His father, who was an RAF pay clerk, developed multiple sclerosis and had to retire on medical grounds. Davies tells how his mother struggled heroically to care for his father whilst raising four children.

Despite the difficult times, there is much happiness in the book, especially his emerging relationship with his future wife Margaret. Though my favourite passages are where he tells of his teenage experiences with girls and the pranks he and his classmates played on unfortunate teachers.

This is an excellent social memoir from one of the UK's premier columnists over the past five decades, Hunter Davies captures this period beautifully. His memoir of growing up in post-war North of England, amid the immense damage wrought by the Second World War, and the dreariness of life on rationing and an archaic educational system, will resonate with readers.

Hunter Davies

                Author, Hunter Davies

Hunter Davies was born in Scotland, raised in Carlisle, educated at Durham and lives in London and the Lake District. His career as a journalist saw him working on the Sunday Times and he currently writes for the New Statesman, the Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday and Cumbria Life.

He is the author of over 50 books including biographies, novels, children’s novels and several books about his beloved Lakes. He is the author of the official biography of the Beatles

The Co-Op's Got Bananas is published by Simon and Schuster. Price is £16.99 for the hardback.

For more information about the book click on


            By James Long
         Review by
Jenny Itzcovitz

Ferney by James Long

When Mike and Gally Martin move to a cottage in Somerset, it's to make a new start. But the relationship comes under strain when Gally forms an increasingly close attachment to an old countryman, Ferney, who seems to know everything about her.

What is it that draws them together? Reluctantly at first, then with more urgency as he feels time slipping away, Ferney compels Gally to understand their connection - and to face an inexplicable truth about their shared past.

A passionate love story that spans centuries, fall under the spell of Ferney.

I really enjoyed this beautifully told story of a young couple who buy a cottage in Penselwood in Somerset. Gally is troubled by bad dreams and the house is in a terrible state of disrepair with a lot of work needed until they can move into it from their temporary caravan where they are living until it is ready. But Mike is hoping that the move to the countryside will help Gally sort out her demons and the new house will bring them happiness.

But who is the mysterious old man, Ferney? And why does he know so much about Gally and the history of the land? A lot of what he tells them doesn't appear in history books, and mysterious old objects such as a ring and a glove tell of a past life with historical significance. As the story unravels and gains pace, I was at the edge of my seat as Gally is faced with an important decision with dangerous implications to her marriage.

Well researched with an expert knowledge of local history, I was very impressed with this fascinating story of time slippage and reincarnation. Packed with great descriptions and authentic historical atmosphere, it explores the way that history books record the facts and whether the information is really accurate or based on hearsay. And what happens when you feel that you may have lived somewhere before at a different time or been someone else in the past.

Elegantly told and very compelling, everything is cleverly resolved at the end. And for those who want more, there is also a sequel featuring Gally and Ferney called The Lies She Left Behind.

James Long

                  Author, James Long

Christopher James Long is a former BBC correspondent. He is the author of historical fiction, thrillers and non-fiction.

Ferney is published by Simon  Schuster. Price is £7.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book click on

  Here She Comes Now

     Edited by Jeff Gordinier
       and Marc Weingarten
            Review by Simon Fine

Here She Comes Now Edited by Jeff Gordinier and Marc Weingarten

With a subtitle of “Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives”, this is a collection of essays from some of America’s biggest and brightest music writers describing the female musicians who have made a lasting impact on their lives.

Each of the stories is unique and truly personal. Each writer has an intense and enduring relationship with their chosen artist and their music. In some instances the artist’s work articulated the writer’s feelings when they were in their teenage years. In others, the artist’s life story has mirrored events and people in their own lives as they were growing up.

Each story is very different, often emotional and always heartfelt. Two of my favourite chapters featured artists that I was unfamiliar with – Jennifer Nix’s story of how June Carter Cash’s life has mirrored her own for over forty years and Ada Limon’s tale of singing karaoke of Aretha Franklin and Loretta Lynn’s classic songs.

The choice of performers reflects the writers’ choices, so there are several of my own favourites who are regrettably absent, such as Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon. However I enjoyed the opportunity to read about the lives and work of several female artists, such as Dolly Parton and Tina Turner who struggled through difficult periods of their lives to earn worldwide success that they richly deserve.

Here She Comes Now will take you back to the time when music really mattered in your life and you were enthralled and perhaps obsessed with the artists who performed the songs that you loved the most.

Jeff Gordinier is the editor at large of "Details" magazine. His work has appeared in "Esquire, GQ, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly," and the "Los Angeles Times," as well as in the "Best American Nonrequired Reading" and "Best Creative Nonfiction" anthologies.

Marc Weingarten is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times, US Weekly, Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly," and "Vibe". He lives in Los Angeles.

Here She Comes Now is published by Icon Books. Price is £14.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book click on

         Smiling Mind

      By Jane Martino and
            James Tutton
           Review Jenny Itzcovitz

Smiling Mind: Mindfulness Made Easy by Jane Martino and James Tutton

Smiling Mind's mission is to provide accessible lifelong tools based in Mindfulness Mediation. Want to de-stress, improve your focus, connect better and enjoy a sense of wellbeing? Mindfulness meditation enables you to do all of these - but if you've never done it before, how on earth do you start?

Smiling Mind is a guide to mindfulness meditation for busy people. Practising for just five minutes every day can help to promote happiness and wellbeing. Based on a 2,500 year old Buddhist practice called Vipassana, this form of meditation is designed to develop the skill of paying attention to our inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience and compassion.

Rooted in the firm belief that mindfulness can take people to a more positive, happy and emotionally aware place, authors Jane Martino and James Tutton demonstrate how this can be achieved in all areas of our lives - our work, relationships, families and parenting. They explain what being mindful is and how it works. They bust those myths we tell ourselves that keep us from being truly happy and free.

Smiling Minds is full of ideas, advice, practical tools and inspiration to lead a life that is fulfilling, passionate and emotionally healthy which in turn means we can build thriving, happy and successful communities. Featuring tips the authors have picked up in their own messy lives, and lots of practical exercises, Smiling Mind: Mindfulness Made Easy will calm your mind and help it to smile in no time at all.

Like many of us I tend to rush around and try and get the maximum amount of things done in a day, and don't really take the time to slow down and enjoy the moment, so I was keen to read Smiling Mind. This bright and easy to read book is packed with positive thoughts and tips to help you relax and enjoy the beauty in life, and feel happier and more fulfilled.

Easy to read, this life changing book will encourage you to relax, let go of your worries, have more fun, and spread your feeling of warmth and happiness around you. If you suffer from stress and feel your life is spinning out of control, this is the perfect book to get you back on track and feeling better about yourself and the world around you. Keep it beside your bed and dip into it when you need some encouragement and a feeling of calmness. There are also some 'scribble' pages at the back of the book for you to write down your ideas and record your progress.

Jane Martino and James Tutton are co-founders of Smiling Mind, a not for profit organisation dedicated to providing free pre-emptive mental health and wellbeing programs via their apps and website. They work with schools, sporting associations and blue-chip corporations to share their belief that successful societies are mindful, caring and thoughtful.

Smiling Mind: Mindfulness Made Easy is published by Hardie Grant Books. Price is £7.99 for the hardback.

For more information about the book click on