The Greyhound Inn, Oxfordshire – Review

Situated in the centre of the picturesque village of Letcombe Regis in the Vale of the White Horse in South Oxfordshire, the Greyhound reopened as a free house in November 2015 after village locals Catriona Galbraith and Martyn Reed bought this once run-down eighteenth-century inn. The couple spent the next year breathing new life into the historic building and grounds to create a true community hub which now welcomes locals and style-conscious foodies from further afield. Not just your average ‘inn with rooms’, the fabulous French-inspired cuisine makes this a true foodie destination.

Check out the full review over on the VADA site here.

Read more of my writing on food and drink here.

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Talk Money Week

Next week (12 – 18 November 2018) is Talk Money Week. It’s an annual celebration of the work thousands of organisations are doing to improve money management across the UK. Organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK, the Week aims to get more people talking about money.

According to the campaign, talking openly about money is vitally important for our health, wealth and relationships.

Research shows that people who do:

  • make better and less risky financial decisions;
  • have stronger personal relationships;
  • help their children form good lifetime money habits; and
  • feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.

There are lots of ways to get involved as an individual, an employer, a charity or school.

Find out more here – let’s get talking about money!

Alphabet, London – Bar and restaurant review

A Soho stalwart for years on London’s Beak Street, Alphabet has a brand new home on Islington’s Upper Street (affectionately known by locals as ‘Uppers’). There’s still a focus on (pretty crazy) cocktails, but you’ll also find a selection of seriously good Mediterranean sharing plates, dips and flatbreads as well as more substantial fare, courtesy of Head Chef Yaz Khadiri.

Head over to Vada Magazine here to read my full review.

Read more of my writing on food and drink here.


Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018


Did you know that this is Baby Loss Awareness Week in the UK?

Every year, thousands of people in the UK are affected by the death of a baby or experience pregnancy loss. A collaboration between more than 60 charities across the UK, Baby Loss Awareness Week is held from 9 to 15 October to raise awareness about the key issues affecting those who have experienced pregnancy loss or baby death in the UK.

Throughout the week bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy. Now in its 16th year, Baby Loss Awareness Week calls for tangible improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support and highlights bereavement support and services available for anyone affected by the death of a baby

Watch and share the #BLAW2018 animation below and find out more and get involved at



Artist Stuart Semple supports 1,000 hours of therapy for 1,000 people

Photo courtesy Nadia Amura

This World Mental Health Day, artist Stuart Semple is backing a new campaign from Timewith, an organisation on a mission to deliver the life-changing potential of good talking therapy to every human being on the planet. The project, entitled 1,000 hours for 1,000 people, is offering 1,000 people each an hour of free therapy, in the hope of breaking down the barriers that hold someone back from seeking the right care and accessing the life-changing potential of therapy.

Stuart commented: “This is a truly beautiful and generous thing. One of the biggest barriers people face in getting the help they need is the stigma of going to therapy in the first place, particularly in the UK.

“Talking therapies were one of the most powerful ingredients in my own recovery from the panic disorder I struggled with for decades. Hopefully the 1,000 hours project will encourage people to take the first step and get the support they need. Talking through my own experiences with a trained professional in a therapeutic environment was a really enlightening experience and beside helping with my healing it also helped me to get to understand myself better. With this amazing idea there really is no need to continue to suffer on your own because the help is there if you need it.”

Stuart Semple is also an ambassador for the charity Mind, with whom he set up the Creative Therapies Fund in 2012.

To claim your free session, go to, choose a therapist and use code SEMPLETHERAPY at checkout.

Eckington Manor – Hotel & restaurant review

Nestled in the Avon valley on the border of the picturesque Cotswolds, Eckington Manor is a true haven for foodies. Founder Judy Gardner has cleverly snapped up Mark Stinchcombe – 2015 winner of BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals – to head up the kitchen with his wife Sue Stinchcombe. Now this restaurant with rooms offers a blissful escape from city life in the Worcestershire countryside where the food is the star. And judging by the spectacular food, you can’t help but wonder whether a star from the folks at Michelin isn’t too far off.

Head over to the VADA site here to read my full review which takes in a special ten-course tasting menu to celebrate ten years of fine dining at Eckington Manor.

Read more of my writing on food and drink here and more travel and lifestyle here.

Sarona – Restaurant review

Sarona, a modern Middle Eastern bar and restaurant on Clerkenwell Road, has a newly appointed Executive Chef and a new seasonal menu.

The food is served as sharing plates (I know, I know… but bear with me) which are presented in four categories; ‘raw’, ‘fried’, ‘charred and grilled’ and ‘comforting’. Those of you who follow my food writing will not be surprised that I skipped the ‘raw’ section entirely…

From astringent chicken pargit with tomato seeds to seriously good shakshuka, modern Middle Eastern cuisine doesn’t get much more vibrant and flavoursome than this. 

Read the rest of my review for Vada Magazine here.

Read more of my writing on food and drink here.

Got that ‘back to school’ feeling?

If the start of the new school year is filling you with dread, you might be interested to learn more about ‘Brilliant Schools’, a new ‘happiness’ service which aims to support mental health in schools by helping staff, pupils and parents take charge of their wellbeing.

Brilliant Schools is a wellbeing club that enables schools to ‘subscribe to happiness’. It provides tools and resources to help boost the wellbeing of primary and secondary school pupils, teachers and parents, through a not-for-profit subscription. Membership gives access to a series of videos, as well as materials for assemblies and class discussions. It launched this week just in time for the new school year and its creators have dubbed it “Netflix for wellbeing”.

Mental health problems in our schools are well documented. Young people in the UK rank next to bottom in international measures of wellbeing, while a recent report by the Children’s Society revealed that a quarter of 14-year-old girls have self-harmed. Meanwhile more and more teachers leave the profession citing stress and pressures both inside and outside the classroom.

Brilliant Schools is a service created by two not-for-profit organisations, the National Learning Trust and Art of Brilliance, to address these problems. The service provides schools with the strategies, resources and knowledge they need to integrate happiness and wellbeing throughout the curriculum, and into the culture of the school. It draws on positive psychology, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. 

Find out more about the Brilliant Schools service at

The Mental Health Media Charter

I thought it was just me writing stroppy emails to editors of publications that still sign off copy about ‘committing suicide’ and the like. So I was delighted to discover someone else has taken a more coordinated approach to challenging inappropriate mental health reporting….

Activist Natasha Devon launched the Mental Health Media Charter at the end of last year with the help of three high-profile charities. It’s a set of seven simple guidelines for ensuring imagery and language used in mental health reporting is responsible, genuinely educational and stigma-reducing. You will already know that this blog and my writing is a stigma-free zone, but if you still need some pointers you can read the guidelines in full here.

The Charter was put together with the help of the SamaritansMental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and Beat. It has been endorsed by Girguiding, the Men and Boys Coalition  and the Labour Campaign for Mental Health.

Know someone who needs a nudge? Why not point them in the direction of the Mental Health Media Charter.

For more follow @MHMedia and @_NatashaDevon on Twitter.