The countdown to Christmas can now begin! Buttermilk launches a new advent calendar!



Buttermilk Christmas advent calendarWhether you’re looking for a unique advent calendar or a memorable stocking filler, Buttermilk has an array of brand new products to make your Christmas merry and bright!

New for 2018, the Cornish confectioner has launched a beautiful advent calendar that has a serving of delicious fudge behind every door. Each one of the 25 helpings comes in a home-compostable wrapper – not plastic – and will get you into the festive spirit with a Christmas song title printed on the door that you can act out as a charade. There’s even a bonus serving for Christmas morning itself!

The Buttermilk advent calendar is priced at £14.99 and is available from Waitrose, National Trust shops, Amazon, Moonpig, Debenhams plus selected independent retailers.


If you’re looking to make Christmas go with a bang, then Buttermilk has a Cracker presentation box in two sizes.  The larger of the two (300g) is priced at £9.99 and contains Mince Pie, Gingerbread and Rum Hot Chocolate all in compostable wrappers.  These are available from Waitrose, Amazon and selected independent retailers.

A smaller version (150g) is priced at £5.99. These are available at Co-op, Amazon, Debenhams and selected independent retailers.

Additionally, Buttermilk has put together a selection of five Yuletide flavours in one exclusive Christmas Collection (500g), RRP £15 which contains all of the confectioner’s boxes of festive fudge together for the first time. The collection includes 100g of Mince Pie, Bellini, Cranberry & Orange, Gingerbread and Rum Hot Chocolate.

Last year’s selection of Christmas goodies proved so popular that they are also available again for 2018. These include seasonal flavours: Mince Pie, Bellini, Irish Cream, Cranberry & Orange, Gingerbread plus the beautiful best-selling Christmas bauble which is a gorgeous Christmas tree decoration filled with 50g of Buttermilk’s ever-popular Caramel Sea Salt fudge.

The entire Christmas collection is available at



Networking for Newbury businesswomen in November



The Athena Network has its final meetings of 2018 scheduled for November before coming back with a bang next year.

The Thatcham group meets on Tuesday, 20th November at the Regency Park Hotel where Nicola Lyle of Fired up Careers will be offering tips on how to work more efficiently and effectively while Athena regional director. Debbie Miles will be encouraging the group to practise their listening skills.

The Newbury Central group meets on Wednesday, 21st November at the Arigato restaurant in Newbury where Tamsin Regnes a MBTI® Certified Practitioner will be demonstrating how differences in people’s preferences for information and decision making can present challenges when working with others.

Attendees will have a better appreciation of the behavioural cues of others, enabling them to adapt and reduce any frustration. In the Networking Training Debbie Miles will discussing the qualities of ‘leading ladies’ .

Debbie Miles said: “With themes concerning effective communication with our colleagues and effective use of time, we aim to help our members develop essential skills for running a successful business.”

Visitors are always welcome to the meetings which meet at midday. Please contact Debbie for an invitation:






Studio 12 Designs brews up a storm with refurbishment of new HQ for LE International

One of Theale’s most prominent and well-loved buildings is enjoying a new lease of life after being bought by an international firm as its new headquarters.

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The Grade II listed Old Brewery building on the town’s high street has sat unoccupied for nearly three years but is now in new hands after being purchased by LE International, who specialise in the distribution of industrial lubricants across the globe.

Claire Tull from Studio 12 Designs was approached by LE International who saw the potential in the building and who wanted to transform it into its international headquarters.  The 2,000 sq ft building was once part-owned by Sir Tom Jones, and also, as its name suggests, spent many decades as Blatch’s brewery. A 14-week refurbishment overseen by Claire in partnership with Frasers Office Interiors has transformed the drab Georgian building into a luxurious head office for the company.

Jackie Clark, general manager at LE International, found Claire through recommendation and invited her to come and see the empty building. Together, they worked on creating a plan to restore the building’s character and accentuate its Georgian architectural features whilst making it a modern hub for a busy, international company.

Jackie said: “We wanted to give the building back its beauty while still remembering that it is an office and not a residential property.  Claire listened to what we wanted to achieve and then provided us with ideas on lighting, furnishings and colour schemes which incorporated our company colours.”

Claire added: “It was a little unloved after all this time, but we could see that it had the potential to be a fantastic head office thanks to its location and room for the team of six, with more space for new staff when required. The building wasn’t in bad condition all things considered and retained its stunning entrance hall and staircase, but it needed to be brought up to the standards required by an international company. The finish and decor were very basic, not in keeping with the Georgian heritage and not up to the standards required in terms of lighting and data cabling provision.”

Claire began by working on the colour scheme to reflect the company’s ethos and branding, plus listing all the work that needed to be carried out. The first job was to install the CAT6e cabling as arranged by Frasers and strip out the kitchen and toilets. The Painting Partnership team replaced the lighting, upgraded electrics and plumbing installed the new kitchen and toilets and thoroughly redecorated inside and out. Fine Design Flooring replaced all of the carpets to the offices and public areas and walnut Karndean to the toilet accommodation. After gaining Listed Building Consent the front and back doors could be painted a different colour, the ugly shutters removed and the secondary glazing replaced.

Claire added: “While we wanted to retain the Georgian heritage, it was also important that it was modern, not a museum piece so we combined contemporary with traditional. You’ll see that while the magnolia walls are out, the original coving, plasterwork and woodwork are very much in. Key also to the look was to replace the dreadful strip lighting with energy efficient LED down lights that can be dimmed. More traditional light fittings sourced from Elstead Lighting and Vaughan Lighting were used for the public areas and the chief executive’s office.

The sash windows also needed to be refurbished as many had been painted shut, now they can be opened to allow natural ventilation which is very important. The original secondary glazing was flimsy and totally impractical. Working with Selectaglaze, and the Windsor Box Window Company, the windows are now the stand-out feature of the bright façade.

Once the building was ready, Claire worked closely with Nick Clark, director at Frasers Office Innovation who provide a one-stop shop for business needs. His company’s role was to provide the Verco furniture and to assist staff with the move.

He said: “I like to visit to get a real understanding of each company’s bespoke requirements and it was immediately apparent that moving to this magnificent building was not your ordinary office move. There was no budget mentioned and the choice of the interiors needed to be of a quality to match the building.

“We arranged for the networking of the telecommunications first and organised a relocation of the existing business at a time to suit the client. We ordered the office furniture from Verco with a six-week lead time.”

Finally, the finishing touch was the splendid Thai Sapphire blue front door with polished brassware which has been attracting comments since it was painted.

Jackie was delighted with the results and the move into the new office has fitted smoothly around work commitments.  She added: “Claire has achieved a stunningly beautiful office, she has highlighted the original features of the building and the building now has a calm, relaxing feel about it making it a pleasure to work in.”

Claire added: “The building now has a sense of calm as well as splendour. It’s supremely well-designed and built; the interior is cool during summer and warm in winter. The last thing we did was to power wash the inner courtyard which was very much neglected but has now been restored to its former glory, making a lovely place for LE International staff to enjoy a well-earned quiet moment.

“The whole project has been a real team effort and we’d also like to thank Blind Fashion, Adby Interiors, Whitehead Designs and Infinity Blinds for their fabulous contribution to the new jewel in Theale’s crown.”

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Athena news for Oct/Nov


The power of collaboration is the theme of the next month of meetings for West Berkshire’s Athena Network.

The Thatcham group meets on Tuesday, 16th October at the Regency Park Hotel. Gina Balarin of Verballistics and author of The Secret Army is the speaker, plus Athena regional director Debbie Miles will be encouraging visitors to think about how they can increase their ‘social capital’ with all the people they work with.

The Newbury Central group meets on Wednesday, 17th October at Arigato in Newbury where Cristina Barton of Cristina Barton Photography will be discussing how to create visual content for social media, on a budget. Debbie Miles will be talking about how to realise the potential of ‘who knows who’ in a networking event.

The Newbury West group meets on Thursday, 8th November at The Red House in Marsh Benham where Simone Bonnett of the Social Managers will be demonstrating ways to improve LinkedIn profiles and Debbie Miles will be discussing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.

The Hungerford group meets Friday, 9th November at Audley Inglewood Kintbury where Charlotte Riley of Being Truly Me will be explaining why businesses need a blog.

Debbie Miles said: “The focus this month is very much on the collaborative nature of our women’s networking events and also how we can get the most from our social media presence”.

All meetings take place from 12pm to 2pm and visitors are always welcome but must book in advance by contacting Debbie via