Cornwall’s much-loved family confectioner Buttermilk has launched Strawberry Bellini fudge – the perfect treat for Mothers’ Day.

The new handmade sweet treat is inspired by everyone’s favourite cocktail. Its unique fizzy and crumbly texture combines a strawberry and prosecco fudge topped with white chocolate and popping candy.

Gorgeously creamy, these buttery, crumbly chunks of loveliness are studded with sweet-yet-sharp freeze-dried strawberries, flavoured with white chocolate and a little dash of Prosecco, and give your taste buds a surprising tingle.

All in all, it’s a sumptuous, fruity, fizzy treat that’s perfect as a gift or for nibbling alongside a glass of prosecco and a strawberry or two.

If you eat the packet before you’ve handed it over to the one you love, then don’t worry. Buttermilk is also launching a fabulous Strawberry Bellini Easter Egg alongside its two luxury Easter eggs; Caramel Sea Salt Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate and Honeycomb Easter Egg.  The Strawberry Bellini Easter Egg is infused with freeze-dried strawberry pieces and a little popping surprise. Inside, you’ll find a further helping of Buttermilk’s new Strawberry Bellini Fudge.

The 100g Strawberry Bellini Fudge box is available at selected outlets including Lakeland and at priced at £2.99. A 150g box priced at £3.99 is available at Waitrose.

Nightingale Fitness launches exclusive exercise kickstart weekends near Tadley

  • Hosted by award-winning personal trainer Joanna Nightingale and Miranda Walsh of the Island Heron Guest House.
  • Maximum of eight women at a countryside women-only retreat in Hampshire
  • Next dates are Friday, 16th March to Monday 19th March 2018 and Friday 20th April to Monday 23rd April 2018
 Dream Team Running 4
Joanna Nightingale, a Newbury personal trainer is marking the second anniversary of her fitness business by launching monthly wellness weekends for women.
The idea of organising retreats where clients can focus on their health and enjoy pampering and relaxation appealed as one of these transformed Joanna’s own life and inspired her to leave corporate life and start her own business, Nightingale Fitness.
Having spent her career at Rolls-Royce, it was a week at a bootcamp in 2015 that helped Joanna realise just how important exercise and time out is for wellbeing. Joanna left Newbury to go to university and then worked at Rolls-Royce HQ in the Midlands for 11 years before deciding the time was right to move back to the area to set up her business. She has since grown a loyal customer base through her 1:1 personal training and classes which resulted in being voted the Muddy Stilettoes ‘Best Fitness Instructor in Berkshire’ last year.
She said: “I wanted to do something that would help people make a lifestyle change and also something that I was passionate about.  Although I loved my job and learned so much, since setting up my business, I have never looked back. I now work with men and women of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels and feedback has been extremely positive.  However, many women have asked if I could develop a retreat so they can devote an entire weekend to improving their fitness, kickstarting a healthier lifestyle, getting advice and learning more about exercise or nutrition, or sometimes simply just to get away and challenge themselves.”
Working in collaboration with other local businesses including massage therapists and beauty specialists, the weekends will be hosted at the 10-acre Island Heron Guest House in Wolverton Common near Tadley. Island Heron proprietor Miranda Walsh is a cordon bleu chef and will be working with Joanna to ensure meals are nutritious and healthy.
The package includes three nights’ accommodation, all meals, drinks and snacks, 10 fitness sessions – ranging from yoga to walking and hula hooping –  a nine-day diet and exercise plan to take home; two months’ membership to the Nightingale Fitness online exercise programme and two seminars delivered by fully trained professionals on subjects such as nutrition, podiatry, stress and mindfulness. Massage and beauty treatments are also available at an additional cost.
Joanna added: “Your reasons for coming and your goals are really important and we will ensure you get what you want out of your time at the retreat. Whatever your fitness level or ability, you will see improvements and achieve results, even over just a weekend. There will be plenty of options, modifications and progressions to cater for all levels.
“We want you to enjoy time with each other in a supportive encouraging environment so you feel inspired, yet relaxed.”
Prices start from £399 per person based on two sharing.
For more information, click onto


Some mothers do ‘ave ’em LIVE

A few weeks ago, I took small son to what I thought was a birthday party.  When we saw a succession of princesses and Batmans heading in, I realised it was fancy dress.  I’m not sure how I missed it, but was delighted by this exchange I heard as we went in.

“What’s your costume?”

Without missing a beat. “I’m Frank Spencer!”

So how I could I not take him to see the live show starring Joe Pasquale? A national tour takes in the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon from the 21st to 24th February and we are so excited that we’ve put our top Frank moments here (as you know, Michael Crawford did all of his own stunts!)

    Betty’s awful mother is in the kitchen bemoaning Frank and his mother while he listens from the top of the stairs. The hoover attacks him and he doesn’t just fall down the stairs but wipes them out completely, while wrapping himself in carpet and stair-rods.     


2.  Frank and Betty’s second honeymoon gets off to a bad start when Frank nearly misses the train but gets worse when Frank trashes the room leaving them no option but to escape through a hole in the floor. 

3. Frank taking driving lessons. Say no more….

4. When Frank gets his foot stuck in a rope and gets propelled upside down to the top of a building 

5. Even after several hundred viewings I still can’t cope with the tension when Frank is dangling off the exhaust pipe of a car over a cliff. 

6.  As preparation for the school nativity last Christmas, small son and I watched the episode of Frank as the Angel Gabriel. I think he was a bit disappointed that he didn’t shoot through the roof at the end.  

7. It goes on for ages, but the whole Demon King scene, complete with the crashing through the window bit straight into the arms of the police is a masterclass in 70s comedy.  We just love the way he bikes into and out of the sea and the way he flies into the room and ends up with a giant map on his head. Whenever small son drops something he says: “Mr Hunt, I’ve wet my waterproofs”  

8. Last but not least, no list would be complete without the roller skating scene:

Wonder if any of these will be in the show – we’ll let you know how we get on, assuming we don’t accidentally cause an explosion in the theatre.


Gerald Seymour talks to Jon Stock about A Damned Serious Business at the Croft Hall, Hungerford



The audience that gathered at the Croft Hall, Hungerford, to hear Gerald Seymour speak on his latest book A Damned Serious Business, would have been greeted that same morning by one broadsheet newspaper’s front page claiming, “Russian cyber-attack could kill thousands.”

Such topicality is to be expected of Gerald Seymour, a former journalist who has written more than 30 successful thrillers.

His first, Harry’s Game – apparently written in just three weeks – was hailed as a modern classic. Since then he has published a novel almost every year – all with different main characters; strong, yet vulnerable lone wolves who are interesting, flawed and realistic.

His latest novel, published just weeks ago, A Damned Serious Business, is a contemporary thriller on the impact of Russian hackers and cyber-attacks, set in Narva on the border between Russia and Estonia.

“Learning about inner workings of cyber-attacks was an amazing learning curve” he laughed.

Prior to publishing Harry’s Game in 1975, Seymour was best known as an ITN reporter and the interview provided some fantastic anecdotes and a window onto Seymour’s disciplined writing routine; who knew that Yasser Arafat and an occasional sniff of Tippex had both had a hand in his prodigious output?

This fascinating interview flew by thanks to Seymour’s thoughtful and eloquent stories as well as Jon Stock’s skilful and well-researched questioning thanks to his own background in the genre.

This was a remarkable evening on serious topics yet presented with humour and modesty. A Damned Serious Business by Gerald Seymour and Find Me by Jon Stock, writing as JS Monroe, are both available at Hungerford Bookshop, who organised the event.


West Berkshire Mencap opens second supported living facility for adults with learning disabilities

1. West Mencap Stella Maris official opening.jpg

Learning disability charity West Berkshire Mencap has opened a new supported living facility in Newbury for young adults with learning disabilities.

The house has been named Stella Maris and is based in the former Northcroft Surgery. It houses five young people with learning disabilities – enabling them to live in the community and to enjoy an independence that was not previously possible.

As well as paying for the building, which cost £500,000 and is now leased to the charity, Greenham Trust funded the £300,000 refurbishment carried out by Calco Construction. The property has been specially designed to cater for the requirements of supported living – such as provision for special equipment and ceiling hoists.

This is the second West Berkshire Mencap housing project that has been supported financially by Greenham Trust. The first was Heffernan House on St John’s Road which houses seven people and has been a great success.

Stella Maris House is fully-staffed at all times and all current occupants are young adults who have grown up together, some of them meeting at West Berkshire Mencap’s Bubble Club for toddlers with learning disabilities.

The house was officially opened on Friday afternoon by Newbury MP Richard Benyon. He said: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to cut the ribbon and also to be a patron of this wonderful organisation.

“West Berkshire Mencap always does a great job right from the start and it’s a great thing for families to know that their loved ones are being looked after well and are living independently. I want to say a very big thank you, as always, to Greenham Trust who have purchased it and done it up and made it a fantastic facility for generations to come. This is a great location right in the middle of the town so close to all the action is a really asset for our town, the community and for West Berkshire.”

West Berkshire Mencap’s chief executive Leila Ferguson said: “We are truly grateful to Greenham Trust who have made this happen.  We are also immensely proud of the staff and are so delighted to see these young adults with extremely challenging behaviour living in the community enjoying life as independently as possible.

“The model at Heffernan House worked so well that we were keen to do the same again. When the surgery came onto the market, we thought a more modern building would work well.”

Chris Boulton, chief executive of Greenham Trust, added: “We are delighted to be able to provide this second facility of its kind for West Berkshire Mencap in Newbury. It will enable up to five people with learning difficulties to be able to live in the community in appropriately designed accommodation and with the benefit of their 24-hour care.”