Website for the over 60s  March 2017
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Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win Ice Cool

Win Ice Cool from Esdevium Games

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Esdevium Games to offer two lucky readers the chance to win Ice Cool by Brain Games, a fun to play action dexterity game for all the family.

Ice Cool has an innovative 3D board featuring an eye catching box in a box concept. The first ever flicking game with pieces that curve and jump, enjoy hours of fast paced interactive fun with this thrilling new game.

In each round, one penguin is the catcher and other penguins are the runners

In each round, one penguin is the catcher and other penguins are the runners. The number of rounds is equal to the number of players.

The runners starts from the classroom and flick their penguin, trying to go through the doors and get the yummy fish of the same colour. By doing so, the penguin gets a fish card with victory points on it or even extra bonuses such as an additional turn to flick your penguin.

The runners starts from the classroom and flick their penguin, trying to go through the doors and get the yummy fish of the same colour

The catcher starts from the spot in the kitchen and tries to catch all the Rascals by bumping into the runners before all the fish are eaten.

Ice Cool was the winner of the UK Games Expo Awards in 2016 in the Children category. Price is £28.29.

Ice Cool was the winner of the UK Games Expo Awards in 2016 in the Children category

Suitable for 2-4 players aged 6 and over. The game lasts on average 30 minutes.

Ice Cool is available to buy now from

For Your Chance to Win

  Tell us what food
   do the penguins
    eat in Ice Cool

     a) Fish
     b) Chips
     c) Pizza
     d) Ice Cream

  To Enter the Competition

Tell us what food do the penguins eat in Ice Cool? Then send in your answer, together with your full name, postal address and telephone number by clicking on the Sixtyplusurfers link below:

* Please label your entry
Ice Cool Competition

* This competition is open to
our UK readers only


 Masters of Invention

Masters of Invention shows the importance of graffiti from the tombs of Egypt to the present day

The art and importance of graffiti, from the tombs of Egypt, to the walls and subways of New York and Philadelphia and beyond are explored by a new exhibition. Masters of Invention runs from 24th March - 29th May at the Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, the home of the Lettering Arts Trust (LAT). Admission is free.

Masters of Invention brings together a new collection of paintings and artworks by some of the most influential graffiti artists of the past 40 years, alongside unseen sketches and photographs, to build a powerful picture of 40,000 years of creative and often audacious handmade lettering and image making.

Masters of Invention explores the place of graffiti writing in lettering and writing culture and the history of contemporary art and graphic design

Masters of Invention explores the place of graffiti writing in lettering and writing culture and the history of contemporary art and graphic design. The origins of graffiti can be traced to the earliest recorded examples of human creativity. The subterranean caves of Sulawesi in Indonesia carry 40,000 year-old marks made by spraying paint around hands pressed tightly to walls and ceilings, and ancient graffiti is there in the tombs of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the catacombs of Rome, the ruins of Pompeii and the mediaeval churches of Britain.

The story of modern graffiti began in the inner cities of Philadelphia and New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s; young pioneers created lettering that captivated audiences, beginning with their personal tags before taking their craft to more sophisticated places and earning the title ‘style masters’.

Masters of Invention presents new work by a generation of contemporary artists from the UK, Europe and beyond

Masters of Invention presents new work by a generation of contemporary artists from the UK, Europe and beyond, each of whom explores the creative possibilities of graffiti away from city walls and subways. Among those featured are renowned British artist, Aroe; Dutch contemporary artist Delta; a pioneer of the British graffiti art scene, Mode2; British X-ray artist, Shok-1; legendary Dutch artist, Niels ‘Show’ Meulman; graffiti/sonic artist, Part2ism; celebrated London artist, Zaki Dee; and the pre-eminent figure of European graffiti writing, Bando.

While the show concentrates on new work, it features sketches and photography from the 1980s and 1990s and reaches back to the origins of modern graffiti and further back to the earliest prehistoric examples of ritual mark-making and hand lettering. The exhibition also features exclusive content from the beautiful new book ‘Wall Writers - Graffiti in its Innocence’ by Roger Gastman, the most comprehensive exploration of ‘60s and ‘70s graffiti and its creators.

Masters of Invention is curated by designer, writer, lecturer and former graffiti artist, Errol Donald

Masters of Invention is curated by designer, writer, lecturer and former graffiti artist, Errol Donald, who explains, “The show is a unique visual history of a letterform that has evolved from humble beginnings, into a highly complex and sophisticated form of design practice that has eluded formal classification and remained faithful to its subversive, and mysterious origins.”

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. Its comprehensive training opportunities include apprenticeships, journeyman schemes (shorter placements with Master letter carvers) and lettering workshops across the UK.

The LAT 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 25 years it has helped and advised people to commission work for public and private locations.

Visitor Information

Masters of Invention is held at the Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Masters of Invention is held at the Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk IP17 1SA

Dates: 24th March - 29th May 2017.

Admission: Free to all visitors.

Opening Times: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays 11am-5pm. Closed Tues-Thurs.

For further  information visit the website at 

Or Tel: 01728 688393

   Visit More Select
  Gardens with RHS
    Garden Holidays

Sark Path

There's nothing like the feeling of being given exclusive access to give a holiday that extra appeal. Recognising the interest in private gardens and the hidden gems that lie within their walls, RHS Garden Holidays have opened the gates to a number of select properties that wouldn't normally be open to the public.

Bringing a new dimension to their itineraries, RHS Garden Holiday clients can now enjoy exclusive access to a number of private gardens, ranging smaller cottage plots to large expansive estates, in the knowledge that they'll be one of the very few to get through the door. They'll also get the chance for a guided tour of the gardens by either the Head Gardener or owner themselves – the perfect opportunity to learn and even share some ideas about gardening.

Private Gardens of East Anglia

This four day holiday features some of East Anglia's finest private gardens, many of which have connections to the RHS, making them just that little bit special. A highlight in May is a visit to the private garden of RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon Bt, when the wildflowers – including the gentle blue, purple and cream Camassias as well as vibrant cherry and apple blossoms should be looking their best, along with Viburnum, Cornus and willows.

The RHS has also secured entry to RHS Council Member Lady Xa Tollemache's fabulous gardens at Helmingham Hall where the house, parkland and gardens together create an exceptional work of art.

Private Gardens of Guernsey and Sark

The island of Guernsey, just 20 miles off the coast of France, flourishes in the warmth of summer and is home to some wonderful private gardens. Beginning with a visit to the townscape terraced private garden La Bigoterie, which boasts spectacular views over the Guernsey harbour, the 5 day itinerary includes 4 other private gardens.

These comprise Grange Court's large town garden in St Peter Port with its gorgeous rose garden, folly, vinery and mixed borders set around rolling lawns; La Petite Vallée with its range of traditional and exotic planting; Mollie McKinley's wonderful fruit and vegetable garden on Sark and the informal country garden of L'Etiennerie Farm with its herbaceous borders, pond, potager, wildflower meadow and transfixing views over the Fauxquets Valley and surrounding countryside.

Villas and Gardens of the Italian Lakes

The fabulous scenery and gentle climate of the northern Italian lakes have attracted aristocrats and the wealthy for years culminating in elegant villas and lush beautifully manicured gardens which more than often lie behind locked doors.

Whilst exploring many of the open villas and gardens around Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, a real treat on this trip is the private gardens. The first, the residence of Andrea Corneo, President of the Italian Camellia Society, houses a remarkable collection of over 500 camellias and 318 cultivars. With some originating from when the garden was first laid out in the 1880s, the collection was expanded by the founder of the society in the 1950s who reintroduced cultivation and imported varieties from around the world.

Particularly spectacular in spring, it is however fascinating all year round. Another great privilege is the private guided tour with the owner of Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, an expansive property set in the foothills between Varese and Lake Lugano. Built over seven terraces, its spectacular 16th century garden cleverly merges with the villa on different levels adding an extra element of complexity to the garden's exceptional layout.

Other highlights on the eight day trip, include the three extravagant Borromean islands Bella, Madre and Pescatori with their lakeland gardens, the extensive gardens of Villa Taranto, dazzling display of Azaleas and rhododendrons at Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello's impeccably maintained gardens overlooking Lake Como, a fascinating wholesale specialist plant nursery and other gardens around Locarno, just over the border in Switzerland.

To book or for further information, please visit

or call 0203 735 1855

  Get into the Heart
 of your Destination
   with Fred. Olsen
      Cruise Lines

Get into the heart of your destination with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering guests the chance to get closer to some of Europe's prettiest destinations in 2017, sailing from Southampton, with its new 'Into the heart of your destination' brochure. Guests can take advantage of Fred. Olsen's four smaller, more intimate ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Black Watch and Boudicca – to sail along the River Weser to Bremen, Germany; cruise along the entire length of Nærøyfjord, Norway; or dock alongside Bordeaux's beautiful promenade.

Guests can also come face to face with the stunning fjordland in Norway, get to the heart of captivating cities in Scandinavia and the Baltic and canals and rivers that are restricted to ships Fred. Olsen's size.

Justin Stanton, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines says, “Southampton is well-known as the UK's most popular cruise departure port, and this demand has brought with it even more ships, which seem to grow larger and larger every year.

“However, this is not the case with Fred. Olsen; our smaller ships bring our guests an experience that can't be super-sized! We can take you closer to enchanting cities and navigate waterways that are out of reach to larger vessels. This means our guests can be confident that they will see the best sights, get closer to city highlights and reach the most remote, untouched corners of the globe that some of the larger ships simply cannot go to.”

Fred. Olsen's new 'Into the heart of your destination' brochure includes the following sailings in 2017:

Braemar's M1709 10-night 'German Waterways' cruise, ex Southampton on 18th April 2017. Prices start from £1,099 per person. Ports of call: Southampton, UK – Flensburg, Germany – Cruising Flensburg Fjord – Travemünde, Germany – Kiel Canal Transit – Hamburg, Germany (two-night stay) – Cruising River Elbe – Cruising Weser River – Bremen, Germany (overnight stay) – Cruising Weser River – Southampton, UK.

Black Watch's 16-night W1705 'Sun, Sea & Monaco Grand Prix', cruise, ex Southampton on 19th May 2017 (adult-only). Prices start from £1,999 per person (with limited availability)Ports of call: Southampton, UK – Malaga, Spain – Cartagena, Spain – Cannes, France – Nice, France (overnight stay) – Barcelona, Spain – Gibraltar – Southampton, UK.

Balmoral's 13-night L1724 'The Baltic & St. Petersburg' cruise, ex Southampton on 2nd October 2017 (adult-only). Prices start from £1,399 per person. Ports of call: Southampton, UK – Kiel Canal Transit – Copenhagen, Denmark – Tallinn, Estonia – St. Petersburg, Russia – Riga, Latvia – Warnemünde, Germany – Kiel Canal Transit – Southampton, UK

All prices shown are based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded Interior Room, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, plus port taxes.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at 

Book online, call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 9am to 5pm; Sunday, 10am to 4pm), or visit an ABTA travel agent.

Mother's Day Lunch
   at the Swan Hotel
       in Lavenham

Treat mum to a special lunch at the 15th century Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa on Mothering Sunday, 26th March

Treat mum to a special lunch at the 15th century Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa on Mothering Sunday, 26th March. The three-course menu will be served in the hotel’s elegant AA two rosette Gallery restaurant, while all mums will receive a Temple Spa gift set to take home from Weavers’ House Spa.

Created just for Mother’s Day by Head Chef, Justin Kett starters include a choice of pressed ham hock terrine, wild mushroom soup, a Suffolk asparagus tart or eggs drumkilbo, supposedly a favourite of the late Queen Mother. A choice of succulent Suffolk roasts follows including sirloin of beef, pork and leg of lamb; there are also fish and vegetarian dishes, while special dietary requests can be catered if requested in advance.

For mums with a sweet tooth puddings include vanilla panna cotta, dark chocolate tart, lemon curd parfait and a banana tatin.

Available from 12 noon until 2.30pm, the Mothering Sunday lunch is priced at £35 per person including the gift for mum.

To book a table call 01787 247477.

Throughout March, and to celebrate Mothering Sunday on the 26th, Weavers’ House Spa at the Swan at Lavenham is also offering a special treatment package just for mums.

The luxurious package includes a 60-minute bespoke My Kinda Skin facial using Temple Spa products chosen to match your skin type followed by a wonderfully relaxing 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage. Afterwards you can enjoy a ‘healthier’ Tea-Tox gluten free afternoon tea; perfect for health food conscious mums wanting to enjoy a sweet sensation following their treatments.

To book call 01787 246 246

For information about the Swan at Lavenham visit 

     Treat Mum to
at the
   Brudenell Hotel

Brudenell Hotel at Aldeburgh

Treat mum to a special lunch out with the family on Mothering, Sunday, 26th March, at the chic Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh. Set in one of Britain’s best seaside locations, the stylish four-star hotel is just a few steps from the beach with magnificent views out to sea.

Dine from the à la carte menu with your choice from the day’s fresh catch of fish and seafood, locally sourced meat and succulent roasts in the hotel’s AA two rosette Seafood & Grill restaurant. Savour an unhurried lunch with beautifully presented dishes as you look out to sea through the floor-to-ceiling windows. All mums will also receive a small gift to take home. Afterwards take a walk along the beach past Maggi Hambling’s renowned Scallop sculpture to Thorpeness and back.

To book a table call the Brudenell Hotel on 01728 452071

Or visit

News & Book Reviews

Mums Go Free on Mother's Day at Ironbridge Museums

Ironbridge Gorge Museums are inviting mums to enjoy a day out at one of their five sites, free of charge, when accompanied by another full-paying adult
As part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations The Ironbridge Gorge Museums are inviting mums to enjoy a day out as their guest at five of their sites on Mothering Sunday, 26th March, when accompanied by another full-paying adult. This free entry offer includes Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalport China Museum, Tar Tunnel, Jackfield Tile Museum, Museum of The Gorge, the Darby Houses and Enginuity.

At Blists Hill, where life over 100 years ago is recreated by costumed characters, you can follow a family trail to discover how Mothering Sunday was celebrated in Victorian times. Along the way you can buy a slice of Simnel Cake from the Bakery, colour a card for mother and join a drop-in session to make a floral rosette in the Goods Shed between 11am and 1pm or 2pm and 4pm; some activities carry an additional charge.

To make the day extra special, treat mum and buy her a Victorian High Tea in the Club Room with delicious sandwiches, cream-filled scones and pastries along with a glass of Prosecco and a pot of freshly brewed tea for an additional £15.50 per adult and £12.50 per child (of all ages). Afternoon tea must be pre-booked by calling 01785 252247 or at

In the Victorian era Mothering Sunday was a special day when children working away in domestic service could return home to visit their mother and families. Although celebrated during Lent, fasting was relaxed and families could indulge in delicious rich foods and celebrations. Children were encouraged to bake a Simnel Cake or pick flowers as a gift for their mothers; hence the evolution of present giving on Mothering Sunday.

Step back in time with a nostalgic music hall evening at Blists Hill Victorian Town

Blists Hill will also be stepping back in time with the first in a series of nostalgic music hall evenings, being held as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums’ 50th Anniversary celebrations, at Blists Hill Victorian Town on Friday, 24th March.

Taking place in the Forest Glen Pavilion between 6.30pm and 10pm, the lively, themed evening includes a two-course meal of Shropshire fidget pie, vegetarian option is Leek & Red Onion Cobbler, followed by damson bread and butter pudding and tea & coffee. Afterwards watch and join in the entertainment live from the piano.

The Museum’s resident performers will regale the crowd with a host of Victorian classic songs such as the ‘Man on the Flying Trapeze’, ‘When Father Papered the Parlour’, ‘Boiled Beef and Carrots’ and the ever-popular ‘Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside’ and ‘Dilly-Dally on the Way’.

Everyone is invited to dress in Victorian costume for the evening, so ladies should dust off their bustles and crinolines and gents spruce up your top hats and tails, this is going to be an evening to remember!

Since its construction by the Pointon family in 1889, the Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion has occupied a very special position in the local community, formerly at the base of Shropshire’s famous Wrekin hill and since moved, brick-by-brick to Blists Hill Victorian Town.

Tickets at £25 per adult must be pre-booked by calling Nikki Birch on 01785 252247 or email Annual Passport Tickets are not valid for this evening and dogs will not be permitted.

About Blists Hill Victorian Town

The museums are open from 10am until 4pm (Blists Hill Victorian Town is open until 4.30pm). 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).

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

For further information visit the Ironbridge website at

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

Follow your Literary Heroes at Thanet

Follow your literary heroes at Thanet

Jane Austen sensed a loosening of social proprieties; Charles Dickens enjoyed “the freshest, freest place”; TS Eliot overcame writer's block; John Buchan found the title for his most famous thriller. The Georgian and Victorian resorts of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, their chalk cliffs and smugglers' bays have long inspired writers. So come and celebrate Thanet's creative coast in VisitEngland's year of Literary Heroes.

As we mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen (1775–1817), her world of fluttering hearts and heroines set on advantageous marriages may seem a world away. But you can step right back into it in Georgian and Regency Ramsgate. The novelist visited in 1803 when it was a garrison town during the Napoleonic wars and her beloved brother Francis led the Sea Fencibles set up to repel invasion. Jane was also eager to meet her future sister-in-law, local girl Mary Gibson – the “lovely couple, side by side” wed in 1806, as celebrated in Jane's poem, 'Post Haste From Thanet'.

Today you will find Ramsgate Royal Harbour – the only Royal Harbour in the country – alive with cosmopolitan waterside cafés and bars, while shiny yachts bob in the marina. Discover more on the area's seagoing heritage in the Maritime Museum on the quayside and view the town's remarkable Georgian terraces, squares and Regency villas, as Jane would have done, with Ramsgate Costumed Walks or on a Ramsgate Town Rounders walk created by Active Ramsgate.

Also take care! Casting an amused satirical eye on middle class propriety, Jane hinted that Ramsgate's sea breezes could loosen morals and manners as well as bonnets and collars. It's in Ramsgate that 15-year-old Georgiana Darcy is put at risk of being seduced by the deceptively charming libertine Mr Wickham in Pride and Prejudice; and in Ramsgate that Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park makes the social gaffe of giving all his attentions to the younger Miss Sneyd “who was not out”, thus offending the elder sister.

Austen's contemporary, leading Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), was more interested in the health benefits of the increasingly fashionable sea bathing and loved to “Ramsgatize”, as he called it, seeking relief from his chronic ailments during a series of holidays, 1819–1833 – you will find a blue plaque where he stayed in Wellington Crescent. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner author enthusiastically recorded his experiences in copious letters, including how he plunged from a bathing machine: “It was glorious! I watched each time from the top-step for a high Wave coming, and then with my utmost power of projection shot myself off into it, for all the world like a Congreve Rocket into a Whale.”

Botany Bay at Broadstairs

Bathing machines may have gone, but you can still enjoy plenty of sea fun and the “aery cliffs and glittering sands” of Coleridge's poem 'Youth and Age', claimed to refer to Ramsgate, still beckon to be explored.

Charles Dickens (1812–1870), by contrast, eulogised Broadstairs – “Our English Watering Place” – and it was his favourite seaside escape most summers from 1837 to 1859. “You cannot think how delightful and fresh the place is and how good the walks,” he rejoiced – still the case today.

Join a Broadstairs Town Walk and hear tales of Dickens' strained friendship with Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, who rather outstayed his welcome with the Dickens family. Or look up Dickens' haunts on a self-guided Broadstairs Town Trail. Old-world fishermen's cottages, delightful cobbled squares – they're all still here, transporting you back to a world amid which the author found peace to scribble away at Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge.

You can stay in The Royal Albion Hotel with its lovely views over Viking Bay just as Dickens did while working on Nicholas Nickleby, or see the author's cliff-top “airy nest”, Bleak House, known as Fort House when he resided there in 1850 and completed David Copperfield. The memorabilia-filled Dickens House Museum on Victoria Parade is also a treat, in the one-time home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, whose chasing of donkey-boys from in front of her cottage inspired the character of Betsey Trotwood and her antics in David Copperfield.

Margate harbour

Come to Broadstairs from 17th–23rd June and you'll experience the town full of costumed Dickensian characters for the popular annual Dickens Festival – this year celebrating its 80th anniversary with seven days of Victorian revelry ranging from music hall to theatre, and lots of scrumptious food. You can always work off the feasting on the 4-mile Turner and Dickens Walk from Broadstairs to Margate, the latter so beloved of the artist JMW Turner and where Dickens enjoyed performances at the Theatre Royal. Maybe take in a show too at this friendly Georgian-cum-Victorian venue.

The Magical Margate Trail and Margate Town Trail are both great self-guided walks that will introduce you to the sights of this quintessential seaside town, the theatre, the historic Old Town with curious alleyways and cobbled streets, genteel Cliftonville, and one of the unlikeliest Grade II listed buildings in the country: Nayland Rock promenade shelter. Take a seat here and enjoy the vista over Margate's golden sands – the scene that TS Eliot (1888–1965) gazed upon as he wrote:

On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken finger-nails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect

Eliot had come to Margate in 1921 to recuperate from a nervous breakdown. Staying in Cliftonville, he took a tram each day to sit in the Victorian shelter and seems to have been soothed and stimulated by the sea, overcoming his writer's block. The lines he wrote, bleak but moving, became part of 'The Waste Land', published in 1922 and hailed as a Modernist masterpiece. An amazing thought as you sit here today.

A poet in entirely different vein, Sir John Betjeman (1906–1984) chose the town, its quirky Englishness, seaside gaiety, dancing and beach pursuits, to stand for all that Britain was defending in his nostalgic wartime poem 'Margate, 1940'. He knew “the salt-scented town” from visiting while staying in nearby Birchington and you can trace his steps in Margate as he reflects –

“And I think, as the airy-lit sights I recall,
It is those we are fighting for, foremost of all.”

Georgian resort, genteel Victorian bolthole, traditional bucket-and-spade holiday escape, and now infused with the energy of cultural renaissance and Turner Contemporary, Margate continues to reinvent itself while remaining typically English.

Literary events include Dickens Festival, Broadstairs, 17th–23rd June: from a Grande Parade featuring Queen Victoria in a horse-drawn carriage to Dickensian feasting and revelry, the festival is celebrating its 80th anniversary in style!

Ramsgate Festival, 22nd–30th July: explore the town's creative side, including theatre, music, talks and a writing competition. All the livelier for running concurrently with Ramsgate Week sailing regatta, 24th–28th July.

Margate Bookie, August 2017: includes interactive sessions, workshops, talks and author readings inspire everyone to read more and get involved in all levels of writing.

Thanet beach

For further information on Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate go to

Gin & Ginger Afternoon Tea at St Ermin's Hotel

Enjoy a Gin & Ginger Afternoon Tea at St Ermin's Hotel, London

A renowned combination originating from the 1730's, the historic St. Ermin's Hotel's new Gin & Ginger Afternoon Tea menu celebrates the tastes of London's iconic Frost Fairs. Featuring hints of fragrant gin and spicy ginger throughout and with an optional mini decanter of gin with unlimited Fever Tree tonic, the new menu is available in The Tea Lounge from £29 per person.

Frost Fairs were historically held during periods of severe cold weather when pop-up stalls would appear on the frozen River Thames selling hot gin and gingerbread to those looking to warm up in winter. Commemorating London's historic love affair with this winning flavour combination.

Enjoy a Gin & Ginger Afternoon Tea at St Ermin's Hotel, London

Executive Head Chef, Alexander Boyd's inspired new menu includes such sweet treats as Cucumber & Gin Jelly with Verbena Panna Cotta, Raspberry & Juniper Berry Mousse, Chocolate, Orange & Ginger Torte and Gingerbread Cake with Gin & Lime Cream. Served with warm scones and savoury bites, from Gin Cured Salmon with Dill Mayonnaise & Cucumber and Pastrami with Juniper Pickled Cabbage to Cream Cheese & Beetroot Bagels and British Brie with Onion, Ginger & Apricot Chutney.

A mini decanter (100ml) of Hendricks, Pickerings or Pink Pepper gin can be added for an extra £20 per person with unlimited Fever Tree tonic. Afternoon Tea is served between 12 noon and 6pm in the hotel's pretty Tea Lounge, off the mezzanine balcony. Gluten Free and Vegetarian menu's available on request.

St Ermin's Hotel is located just around the corner from St James' Park tube

St Ermin's Hotel is located just around the corner from St James' Park tube and is minutes from Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. It features the award winning Caxton Grill restaurant, and on the third floor terrace, there are Bee Hives. St Ermin's Hotel is home to over 350,000 Buckfast Bees and London's only Bee & Bee.

The hotel offers a beautiful selection of seasonal Afternoon Teas, served in one of London's prettiest Tea Lounges. There is also a stunning ballroom and event spaces, showcasing dazzling chandeliers and magnificent plasterwork. The hotel offers a fantastic range of rooms and suites, and is the perfect base for sightseeing or a weekend break.

St Ermin's Hotel, London

For more information about St Ermin's Hotel visit the website at 

Falcon Manor Welcomes the
Flying Scotsman

Falcon Manor welcomes the Flying Scotsman

Falcon Manor, Settle's country house hotel, is set to be in pole position when the legendary Flying Scotsman travels the Settle-Carlisle line to celebrate the reopening of the route this Spring.

The iconic line, famously saved from permanent closure almost 28 years ago, has been partially shut since February 2016 after a major landslip following the storms of 2015/16. Throughout the repair works, buses have linked Armathwaite and Carlisle, but now the engineering project is on target to finish by the end of March.

To mark the re-opening, The Flying Scotsman, one of the most famous steam engines in the world, will run between Oxenhope and Carlisle on March 31st.

Carole Melling, General Manager at Falcon Manor, which has a view of the line as it approaches Settle says, "We are delighted that the Settle-Carlisle Railway will be back to normal very soon.

"It is a valuable tourist attraction for the area with lots of people coming to enjoy a ride on the railway through our stunning local scenery. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a 12% increase in foreign visitors coming to Yorkshire, which is great news for the railway and for everyone in the hospitality business."

The landslide saw approximately 500,000 tons of earth slipping towards the River Eden damaging the railway and making it unsafe to use. The subsequent £23 million repair has been a major engineering exercise which has ensured the future of one of the world's great scenic rail journeys.

Carole adds, "Millions of pounds have been invested in the Settle-Carlisle railway since its reprieve in 1989. Settle Station is just a short stroll from Falcon Manor's doorstep and as well as offering a great day out travelling the line, it also provides public transport to places such as Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Ribblehead, with its famous 24-arch viaduct, giving access to miles of beautiful walking."

Falcon Manor is part of the James' Places group of hotels, inns, interior design and hospitality businesses across the Ribble Valley, Yorkshire Dales and South Lakes, all different yet sharing the same service values and ethos.

Check the website for ticketing information.

For more information about Falcon Manor visit

Shire Horse Show

Shire Horse Society Show

     Runs from 17th - 19th March at the
            Staffordshire Showground

The Shire Horse Society Show is a three-day show which runs from 17th to 19th March at Staffordshire Showground. This is the perfect chance to see the gentle giants of the horse world in all their finery.

Around 300 pedigree Shire horses from across Europe are expected to take part in the Shire Horse Society Show, being put through their paces in hand, in harness and during ridden classes.

Open to the public, the event is a colourful day out for all the family and the chance to support the campaign to save this magnificent breed of horse, which only a few decades ago was in danger of dying out.

Tickets for the show are on sale via the website at

Ticket price is discounted if bought in advance. Adult tickets on the gate are £12, or £10 online in advance, while tickets for children aged five to 13 years on the gate are £10, and £8 online in advance.

Children aged 14 years and over are charged at the adult price, while under fives enter free.

Gates open on Friday 17th March at 8.30am and at 7am on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March.

For more details and ticket information about the show, visit  

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White Lion Hotel Mother's Day Lunch

Treat mum to lunch at the White Lion Hotel on Aldeburgh's seafront

Treat mum to lunch at the White Lion Hotel on Aldeburgh’s seafront on her special day, Sunday 26th March. Head Chef, James Barber has created a special à la carte menu for Mothering Sunday focusing on local produce but with a French twist.

Served in the hotel’s informal, family friendly Brasserie Bleue starters include lightly spiced Aldeburgh crab cakes, a Lane Farm charcuterie platter, selection of Pinney’s of Orford smoked fish and leek and potato soup; some of the dishes are also available in larger portions for a lighter main course.

There’s also a choice of traditional roasts including Suffolk sirloin of beef, chicken wrapped in Lane Farm bacon and Dingley Dell Pork plus grilled fillet of bream and a Norfolk Mardler goats cheese and red onion quiche vegetarian dish. This is followed by a selection of tempting desserts or a platter of English cheeses.

With starters and desserts priced from £6 and mains from £12, the Mothering Sunday lunch menu will be served between 12 noon and 2.30pm. There’s also a children’s menu for young appetites.

To book a table, please call the White Lion on Telephone: 01728 452 720

For more details visit


 Sixtyplusurfers Book Reviews

A Mindfulness Guide
     for the Frazzled

            By Ruby Wax
            Review by Simon Fine

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

Five hundred years ago no one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us. Ruby Wax shows us how to de-frazzle for good by making simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.

Although our brains have developed considerably since we learnt to stand on our own two feet, we struggle to deal with a range of mental stresses and illnesses. Ruby Wax herself suffers from depression from time to time and candidly takes us through one of her depressive interludes. Her own experiences have inspired her to study mindfulness at Oxford University and to advocate for better mental health education. There is some interesting biology on how our brains work but crucially an explanation of how our mind develops and how it is malleable and can be trained and changed by how we think.

The most practical chapter of this book is a six week mindfulness course “aimed at people who want to be able to fall asleep at night and to be able to focus on the task in hand when they’re awake”. Ruby takes us through a series of short mental and physical exercises that can be done any time and place. There are also chapters on mindfulness for parents with exercises for parents to use on themselves and their infants. And a chapter on mindfulness for older children and teenagers.

The book is written in typical Ruby Wax style with wit and humour, often self-deprecating. So it is an entertaining read as well as informative and accessible. Ruby’s experiences of a visit to Bruges and a week long retreat in a place of silence are insights into the benefits and impacts of practicing mindfulness. If you have wondered what mindfulness is all about, this book will answer your questions.

Ruby Wax

                   Author, Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax is a comedian and TV writer who also holds a Master's degree in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy from Oxford University. She is the author of Sane New World and was recently awarded an OBE for services to mental health.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled is published by Penguin. Price is £8.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book visit the website at

 Dandy Gilver & The
 Unpleasantness in
      The Ballroom

     By Catriona McPherson
          Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

Dandy Gilver & The Unpleasantness in the Ballroom by Catriona McPherson

Glasgow, 1932, is a city in the grip of dance-fever. Public ballrooms and back-street dancehalls are thronged every night and the competition for professional titles is fierce. Even after the sudden death of one of last year's hopefuls there are plenty willing to take his place, and few who stop to wonder why he died.

In the melting pot of the Locarno Ballroom in Sauchiehall Street, a debutante rubs shoulders with denizens of Glasgow's meanest streets, her respectable fiancé oblivious, her parents dismayed. When she starts receiving threats from a rival, they grow frantic enough to call on Dandy Gilver to save their precious daughter from harm.

But as Dandy and her sidekick, Alec Osborne, begin to unravel the secrets of the dancehall, they soon discover that the rot goes much deeper than rivalry and there's more at stake than a silver cup. Despite the pretty frocks and dancing shoes, this apparently glittering world is a darker place than they've ever been before ...

I'm a great fan of ballroom dancing, taking lessons myself, and I enjoy a good murder/mystery so I was very keen to read Dandy Gilver and the Unpleasantness in the Ballroom.

As soon as I started reading, I warmed to the two detectives - Dandy who is distraught about the recent death of her dog, and her friend Alec who helps her solve murders and accompanies her on her amateur sleuthing adventures.

Dandy and Alec at first think they are dealing with nothing more than a few nasty threats on 'Tweety Bird', one of the dancers at the Locarno Ballroom in Edinburgh. But as they begin to delve deeper, they discover there has already been a murder and possibly more to come.

The story cleverly captures the excitement and competitive nature of ballroom dancing in the 1930s, with the frothy gowns, intricate dance steps and vivacious music, together with plenty of dry humour and a fast paced murder hunt.

Elegantly written with plenty of suspense and intrigue, I was thoroughly gripped until the end of the book. All the loose ends were neatly tied with a satisfying ending, and I look forward to reading more of Catriona's books featuring the charming detective duo of Dandy Gilver and Alec Osborne.

Catriona McPherson

Author, Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction.

The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger in 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 Dandy Gilver and The Proper Treatment of Bloodstains was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award.

Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California. 

Dandy Gilver & The Unpleasantness in The Ballroom is published by Hodder & Stoughton. Price is £8.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book click on

 My Life in His Paws
          By Wendy Hilling
        Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

My Life in His Paws by Wendy Hilling

My Life in His Paws is the story of the amazing dog who gave back someone's freedom and confidence. Wendy Hilling has a rare skin condition which means her skin is as delicate as a butterfly's wing. Every moment is difficult and causes pain. It affects the body inside and out - her throat is very narrow and she can stop breathing at any time.

But nine years ago Wendy's life changed forever. She met Ted, the Golden Retriever and he became her full time carer. Ted, trained by Canine Partners is the first and only known assistance dog in the UK to have supported someone with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) and he has played a huge role in giving Wendy back her confidence and independence. Wendy is now entirely reliant on Ted and he has saved her life more times than she can remember.

Both heart-breaking and heart-warming, My Life in His Paws is about the relationship between human and animal, about living with disability, overcoming adversity and the extraordinary things animals are capable of. This is the inspirational story of Wendy and Ted's incredible bond, but it is also the story of Wendy's astonishing life, her illness and her battles against the odds over the years, and the transformative effect Ted has had on her life.

I really enjoyed reading this wonderful story about Wendy Hilling and her incredible dog, Ted. Warm, honest, moving and uplifting, Wendy tells the story of her rare skin condition and how her beautiful and intelligent dog has saved her life, become her constant carer, and brought her the courage and strength to live her life to the fullest.

Engagingly told, Wendy writes about her difficult experiences with the illness ever since she was a child, and later on how she found her dog, Ted with Canine Partners and trained him to become her companion and carer. Inspirational and motivational the story shows how anything is possible, even in the darkest of times, and the powerful loyalty and companionship of her much loved golden retriever really warms the heart.

Wendy Hilling

                Author, Wendy Hilling

Wendy Hilling lives in Devon with her husband Peter and her canine partner, Teddy. Wendy was born with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). It causes her skin to blister and tear at the slightest knock. Despite the odds against her survival, she has worked, owned horses and had two children. She believes that anything is possible, it is just a matter of finding ways around difficulties. With the help of her Canine Partners she trained Teddy to be her assistance dog and he has saved her life in ways she could never imagine.

Ted and Wendy have been together since Ted was nine weeks old. He was the first assistance dog in Devon to get paid a wage by the government. Not only does Ted provide 24 hour care for Wendy but he is also a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog for hospitals, the owner of a PDSA commendation for animal bravery for saving Wendy's life and also the medical team mascot for the British Olympic Association.

My Life in His Paws is published by Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. Price is £8.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book click on

For further information about Canine Partners click on

    Britain's Best Walks
   By Christopher Somerville
            Review by
Simon Fine

Britain's Best Walks by Christopher Somerville

Readers of The Times will be familiar with Christopher Somerville’s weekly contribution to the Weekend section of the newspaper. Called “A Good Walk”, it features a walk somewhere in Britain, often with interesting history or character, usually involving a stop at a pub for lunch, like most good walks.

This splendid hardback features 200 of Christopher’s favourite walks from his Times column. Each of the featured walks contains a detailed description as featured in The Times, instructions on how to get there, simple step-by-step walk instructions and a colour, clear and up-to-date map.

The walks are mostly circular and vary in distance from three miles to about twelve. Each walk is graded according to difficulty, so that readers can select something suitable for their ability, fitness and mood. Most are “easy” or “moderate” though a few are described as hard or strenuous and there are a handful of tough walks such as a 14 mile walk across Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands. Fortunately each walk description includes a pub where a thirsty and hungry walker can take a break.

The book features walks across some of the most beautiful countryside and coast of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and includes some stunning photography which will inspire anyone to dig out their walking boots. Christopher has an engaging style of writing to interest and enthuse the reader. With his trademark charm, he describes local history, the birds and wildlife he encounters, the landscape and the flowers and trees that catch his attention.

I particularly enjoyed reading about walks in the Yorkshire Dales where I walked in my youth, but whichever part of Britain you favour, there is something here to satisfy the weekend walker.

Christopher Somerville

       Author, Christopher Somerville

Christopher is a Times journalist with 25 years’ experience of writing and broadcasting about country walks (and tougher hikes). He has also written extensively about life in remote rural and island communities from Scotland to Crete by way of the Faroes, musicmaking in Irish pubs, festivals from Spain to Sweden, and the pleasure and delight of telling stories and weaving yarns.

He is the author of Somerville’s 100 Best British Walks (Armchair Traveller, 2012), Where to See Wildlife in Britain and Ireland (Collins, 2013) and Best Wild Places (Penguin, 2011).

The Times Britain’s Best Walks is published by Harper Collins. Price is £30 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit the website at


   The Flower Book
         By Rachel Siegfried

        Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

The Flower Book by Rachel Siegfried

Flower farmer and floral designer Rachel Siegfried celebrates, bloom by bloom, the loveliest flowers for the home. Her arrangements are inspired by the changing seasons, her love of the English country garden, and the hedgerows around her Oxfordshire flower farm.

Taking you from spring tulips to summer sweet peas and autumn dahlias, she recommends how to select the best flowers, keep them fresh at home, and display each one to enjoy its natural beauty.

This glorious book is a celebration of flowers with over 60 cut flower profiles shot in illuminating high definition macrophotography. Advice on selecting, growing in the garden, and using each flower is provided alongside.

Interspersed between the flower profiles, Rachel also includes 30 arrangements to inspire you to show off your flowers to their best effect in her signature naturalistic style.

I love buying and receiving flowers, but I'm not always sure how to display them or which ones to get, so I was delighted to receive The Flower Book.

This beautiful book advises on the best containers to use depending on the flowers, shapes and colours of your arrangement and how to display them in the most eye catching way.

There are also sections showing you some of the glorious flowers you can buy with information about their stem height, longevity and how to take care of them.

Each page is adorned with stunning photographs that you can admire and enjoy at your leisure. The detail, depth and colours of the photographs are absolutely wonderful, they almost seem three dimensional.

This book would make the perfect gift for Mother's Day or for anyone who loves flowers and gardening.

The Flower Book is available from DK. Price is £30 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit the website at

    Great Expeditions 
     50 Journeys that 
   Changed our World

    Foreword by Levison Wood

          Review by Simon Fine

Great Expeditions 50 Journeys that Changed our World

Throughout history there have been brave men and women who dared to go where few had gone before. They broke new ground by drawing on incredible reserves of courage, fortitude and intelligence in the face of terrible adversity. Their endeavours changed the world and inspired generations. 50 of the most famous and remarkable journeys are featured in this high quality hardback book.

The stories of each expedition are recounted in detail, illustrated with stunning photographs, maps and documents that capture the hardships and risks of each journey. Each chapter superbly conveys the historical context of expedition, the endeavours undertaken and the dangers endured by the heroes who undertook them. Many did not survive their attempts.

The book begins with perhaps the most historic event in our lifetime, the Apollo 11 moon landing, with breathtaking photographs. Other famous journeys include Tenzing and Hillary’s conquest of Everest, Christopher Columbus’s voyage to America, Amundsen and Scott’s race to the South Pole and the present day Voyager interstellar mission to the edge of our universe and beyond.

There are also less well known but equally remarkable endeavours such as the three aboriginal girls who had been taken from their families by the authorities but walked 1000 miles back to their village. The German prisoner of war who escaped from a Siberian gulag and negotiated a bewildering 8000 mile route to Germany. The most poignant is the story of Terry Fox who, despite having an artificial leg due to cancer, attempted to run across Canada, covering 3339 miles in 143 days before his progress was halted by the return of his illness.

The 50 expeditions cover all the continents; include epic journeys across land, ascending mountains, crossing seas, under-water, in the air and outer space. They cover times from the middle ages to the present day. All are remarkable.

The book’s foreword is written by Levison Wood, presenter of Walking the Americas. He writes “the stories in this book form an extensive list of human achievement that has had a huge impact on the world today”. I found myself thoroughly amazed and impressed by each of the expeditions, it was also a great learning experience.

Great Expeditions - 50 Journeys that Changed our World is published by Collins. Price is £20 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit the website at