Southsea Lifestyle – Free Magazine for Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney & Gunwharf Quays

The trouble with Aquind

Date: July 9th, 2021


Rarely, if ever, does an issue unite people of all political persuasions, local and national politicians and residents of all nationalities and religious beliefs. Aquind Inter-connector is just such an issue. Objections bind a passionate group of people together, committed to defend their city against the Aquind proposal. MPs and Councillors are unanimous in their criticism. Residents along the route are united, they are determined it must be stopped.

What’s being planned?
Aquind’s proposal is to install cables designed to carry 2 million watts of electricity, from France, under the Channel, to Eastney beach and to dig trenches and drill tunnels from south to north, to connect the cables to the National Grid at Lovedean. Electricity generated in Europe could then flow to and from the UK

So what’s wrong with Aquind proposal?
The construction of this project would mean many months of disruption and damage to the fabric of the city. Toxic material long-buried in landfill sites might be unearthed.Traffic chaos, causing increased pollution, would negatively affect the people who live in, and visit Portsmouth.The natural environment would also be adversely affected.

Why can’t the proposal be stopped by the local council?
The project is being imposed upon the city and South Hampshire by the government. It was rejected by Portsmouth City Council and the various county and parish councils along the route when first proposed by the developer – Aquind. Following local rejection Aquind took their case to the government department dealing with energy supply (BEIS). They wanted the project to be treated as a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’ and to apply for a Development Consent Order – removing all decision-making from local level.
The then Secretary of State directed that their request be granted. This was no surprise as he had previously been publicly very supportive of the scheme, which allowed the developer to push ahead with the proposal.
Examination of the application by the Planning Inspectorate took place this year, its recommendation went to BEIS in early June and in September a decision will be announced by the current Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng.

Who’s trying to stop the project?
Let’s Stop Aquind was formed by Viola Langley and Paula Savage in September 2020 following an announcement by the leader of Portsmouth City Council that local councillors could no longer lead the planning of the project. They were obliged to follow the 2008 Planning Act legislation and act as contributors to the examination process.
Since its formation Let’s Stop Aquind has constantly raised public awareness of the project, something sadly lacking up to this point. Indeed only about 150 responses to Aquind’s public consultations were received following their expensive ‘engagement with the public process’ during 2019. Contrast this with the 3300+ members of Let’s Stop Aquind and the many thousands of engagements/objections from the public.

Key Questions
Why does the UK need this Inter-connector?
Why risk severely damaging a city and its environment for this project?
Who are Aquind and what’s the source of their funding?
Why does an Aquind owner contribute over £1million to the Conservative party?
Why has this project been taken out of local council control?
Why has France rejected this project so strongly?
Why did Aquind take French energy regulators to the European Court?
How can our vulnerable wildlife, flora and fauna survive the major construction needed if this project goes ahead?
Should residents be stressed by the disruption the development will cause, particularly post pandemic?

Posted in: Articles, Environment

Shant on

Date: July 6th, 2021

I’m writing this after my first beer inside a pub. It was glorious. I think we’ve all made the best of drinking at home. Luckily The Beer Musketeer was a salvation for any craft beer lover. But… there’s something to be said about a spontaneous pint with friends or even on your own. Chatting with locals and bar staff as you ponder life (and most importantly beer). Now we get to swap our lockdown tales whilst chugging our favourite brew and supporting all the independent businesses that make our city and beer scene what it is.

Right now, in Portsmouth there doesn’t seem to be a better time to love beer. There are so many bars providing excellent ranges to suit all tastes, and no longer do we have to sit in the rain to enjoy them. From the expansion of Staggeringly, to the exciting Make Make crowd funder and Southsea Brewing company bringing us the beers we love. If you fancy a trip across the water to Gosport, time spent at Fallen Acorn and their mix of traditional and modern beer styles does not disappoint. There really is something for everyone. Why not treat yourself to a pint and celebrate getting through this last year.

I’ll see you there.

Photos: Mike @mmm.beers

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Victorious Festival 2021

Date: July 6th, 2021

Victorious Festival — The UK’s biggest metropolitan music festival — will return to Southsea Seafront this August Bank holiday weekend (27th-29th August). Victorious is set to be the biggest festival weekend in the South this Summer, having announced a line-up brimming with heavyweight headliners — Madness, The Streets, Royal Blood & Nile Rodgers & Chic.’

Backing up the heavy-weight headliners is a line-up over flowing with an array of artists ensuring a busy weekend for music lovers. Legendary singer-songwriter Richard Ashcroft will deliver an unmissable set on Saturday at Victorious. Renowned DJ Annie Mac is the Sunday afternoon special guest set, guaranteed to get everyone in the festival spirit!  Rag ‘N’ Bone Man will perform on Saturday bringing his soulful sound to the stage. Across the weekend, you can catch performances from The Kooks, The Fratelli’s, Cast, and Feeder to get your fix of infectious Indie staples. Notably, 90’s pop stars Craig David and Melanie C will both be performing at the festival. Their sets are sure to be a huge family highlight with sing-along hits like Never Be The Same Again, Too Much, Fill Me In and 7 Days on the cards.

Victorious Festival 2017

Victorious presents a rare opportunity to watch the remarkable Britpop band Supergrass live. While newcomer Jade Bird is another one to add to your festival schedule with a recent NME nomination for ‘Best New Act In The World’. Don’t miss Ella Eyre whose stunning vocals have featured on a whole host of hits including her BRIT award-winning collaboration with Rudimental Waiting All Night, Sigala’s summer anthems Came Here For Love and Just Got Paid and Banx and Ranx’s Answerphone. Plus, Clean Bandit will take to the Seaside stage with a DJ set featuring vocals from lead singer, Grace Chatto creating the perfect summer soundtrack to your Sunday at Victorious! With all of these artists, plus more across the weekend there really is something for everyone to enjoy this summer!

Showcasing Southsea, Victorious’s stunning seafront setting with a metropolitan backdrop creates the ultimate family-friendly festival experience. Alongside the scenery, experience an enormous free Kids Arena (Saturday & Sunday only), 13 stages packed with entertainment, bustling markets, and an amazing atmosphere.

With Friday tickets currently available from £35 and Saturday and Sunday at £45 a day Victorious Festival continues to be one of the best value festivals in the UK. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, Events

The History House

Date: July 6th, 2021

When award winning interior designer Richard Dewhurst moved into Atlas House in Old Portsmouth, he was always destined to leave his mark. By Kate Thompson

“It is an interesting house and one of those where more features reveal themselves the longer you stay here,” Richard explained.

While careful work outside revealed an early Georgian facade with 16th century origins, the treasures inside include the original staircase with 18th century panelling.

An exposed wattle and daub wall discovered in the 1980s has been expertly dated to 1545, meaning someone would have been living in this house when the Armada attacked Portsmouth, and may even have witnessed the sinking of the Mary Rose.

When Richard is working with clients his aim is to create convivial spaces that people can live in comfortably — and his own home fully reflects that aesthetic.

“When we moved in, everything was painted white. White walls, white woodwork, beige carpets.

“I immediately ripped up all the carpet to reveal the original floorboards, which I had re-stained to retain the patina and leave the years of history intact. I’ve refurbished both bathrooms and the kitchen, and fully redecorated throughout,” he said.

Working with the history of the building, Richard has skillfully incorporated modern design that makes the most of the light, space, and location.

“We’ve got three roof terraces here, including the ‘crows nest’ as we call it, where you have the most incredible skyscapes and sunsets,” he revealed.

It was the transformation of the exterior that really excited local people. “I decided we needed to strip off the paint at the front. When we did, it revealed this amazing brickwork that has lifted the property. People kept coming up to us in the street saying, ‘Wow, we didn’t realise this building was here, what have you done to it?” he recalled.

“There is something to be said about living by the sea.- you immediately feel you can relax. It really is a tonic!”

Now Richard is moving on to pastures new, and Atlas House is on the market with Fry and Kent.


Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Could the UK Help Save the World’s Rainforests?

Date: June 16th, 2021

As the deforestation crisis continues, world tracker the World Counts reveals that in 78 years, rainforests will cease to exist if we continue the harmful practices we have been relying on for decades. It goes without saying that in the last decade, the Amazon rainforest has had more than its fair share of crises. Plus, the ongoing events of the COVID-19 pandemic have even wrought havoc on the planet’s lungs. 

Through increased illegal clearance operations that exploited the distracting circumstances of the global pandemic, deforestation in the Amazon increased by 55 per cent in the first four months of 2020.

Recent reports suggest that only three per cent of the world’s ecosystems remain healthy and intact, therefore it is crucial we all band together to tackle this crisis. With 22nd June marking World Rainforest Day, we need to question how we might save the Amazon? But just how bad is the rainforest crisis? Here, we explain the scale of the problem by posing this question: could the UK plant enough trees to help tackle the deforestation crisis in the Amazon?

One tree for another

Let’s look at the numbers. 

Between August 2019 and July 2020, 11,088km2 (2,739,904.5 acres) of rainforest was destroyed. In comparison to the previous year, this figure has increased by 9.5 per cent. 

There are around 200 trees per acre in the Amazon. Taking this as a base, to replace what was lost in 2020 alone, 547,980,900 trees would need to be planted to cover those 2,739,904.5 acres lost. 

So, in theory, would the UK be up to the challenge? 

Let’s say, hypothetically, we could get all 68,000,000 UK residents on board with the idea. We would all have to commit to planting eight trees each – which may not sound too much. Even if only half the UK got involved, 16 trees is manageable – if we have the space. 

So, do we have the space? 

In short, yes, we do. The UK covers 242,495km2, which is enough space to plant 2,739,904.5 acres of additional trees (which would cover 11,088km2, or 4.57 per cent of the UK). We wouldn’t have to knock down any of our homes or buildings either, with Northern Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland each comprising of less than 10% “built-up” areas.

As for farmland however, it might be a struggle to fit all the planting into England alone – and that’s before the following year when we would need to plant another 547,980,900 trees. 

That leads us to some realistic problems: 

  • Deforestation is increasing every year, recent reports by the Woodland’s Trust found that only seven per cent of the UK’s native woodlands are in good condition. 
  • Eventually, we would run out of space in the UK to counter the yearly loss of trees in the Amazon. 
  • Cutting down trees and replacing them with new ones does not provide an equal counter.

Out with the old, in with the new 

 In an interview with the BBC, Dr Erika Berenguer of Oxford University explained: “The older and larger the tree, the more carbon it stores.” The doctor continues to explain that a family car that emits three to four tonnes of carbon over the course of four years that can be stored in a tree with a three-metre circumference. 

As for young trees, they absorb around 5.9kg of C02 per year. So, the problem isn’t just losing one tree and replacing it with another, rather, it is the fact that a newly planted tree cannot store the same amount of carbon as the larger, older tree it is replacing. 

Dr Berenguer explains: “Many people believe that to make up for what we’ve lost in the Amazon, we just need to plant trees elsewhere. But that is simply not the case”. 

How we can make a change

Prevention is better than a cure. To regrow the trees that are lost in the Amazon would take years and years, therefore the best solution is to prevent any more of the rainforest from being lost to deforestation. 

As outlined by World Rainforest Day, there are seven key actions we can take to help save the future of the world’s rainforests.

  1. Donate to rainforest protectors — no one expects you to ditch your job, sell all your belongings, and move out to the rainforests to fight the good fight. But you can do your bit by donating to rainforest protectors, who will help protect wildlife, fight deforestation, and develop sustainable economies alongside Indigenous communities.  
  2. Get educated about rainforests — there are so many resources online to get clued up about the beautiful biodiversity of the planet, and the rainforests are no exception. The rainforests contribute so much more than just the air we breathe (though that really ought to be motivation enough!). 
  3. Make sure your products are rainforest-friendly — dodge unsustainable sources of palm oil in the product you buy, such as cosmetics and cleaning products, as palm oil production is the bane of Southeast Asian rainforests! Look out for the Rainforest Alliance Certified sticker — you can’t miss the little green frog. Other alliance logos can let you know if the palm oil in a product is from a sustainable source or if it is palm-oil free.  
  4. Eat less meat and more plants — the sad fact is, beef production is the largest cause of tropical deforestation in the Amazon, with around 2.71 million hectares being removed every year across all of Latin America to create more ranch land. 
  5. Spread the word — hashtag this, hashtag that. Love them or hate them, hashtags are a great way to spread a message. Hop on social media and start following rainforest protection accounts. 
  6. Commit to sustainable travel — from electric cars to purchasing carbon offsets before flying, there are so many ways to reduce your travel carbon footprint in 2021. 
  7. Hold leaders and corporations accountable — you have the chance to vote for leaders who highlight global issues such as deforestation and climate change. Plus, with a digital platform at most of our feet, call out companies who aren’t doing their bit!

However, let’s not dismiss the idea of tree planting in the UK it can make an enormous difference to climate change, especially as the tree matures and soaks up more carbon. So as the warmer months commence, if you’re looking for a way to spend time in the garden, then planting a tree and providing it with the care it needs is something the environment will appreciate, and to allow of all of us to be mindful of deforestation and the ways we can play our part in World Rainforest Day 2021. 


Compost Direct is an online retailer of sustainably sourced compost, mulches, plant feeds and more. The UK based company has partnered with 1% for the Planet, a global organisation that is currently working to support Rewilding Britain in its vision to restore and connect up areas of rich natural habitat across at least 30% of Britain’s land and seas by 2030.


Posted in: Articles, Environment

My Kind of BBQ

Date: June 3rd, 2021

©Charlotte Griffiths Photography 2021

Words: Daniel Nowland, Photos: Charlotte Griffiths

Fingers crossed that as we move into June and July, we can start enjoying eating outdoors with friends because we want to, not because the government says it’s our only choice! I am sure many of us will be dusting off our BBQs and enjoying gardens to the full this year.  

As a child, the smell of charcoal being lit brought on a warm fuzzy excitement for the onslaught of burgers, sausages and processed cheese slices. In a way, that excitement still exists today, but my taste in food has changed. Whilst burgers and sausages will always be brilliant and easy BBQ go to’s, I love finding other meals that work well on the BBQ and it turns out the options are limitless. 

I want to share with you a “party piece” recipe that never fails to impress and is far easier than it looks – homemade BBQ flatbreads. For me a BBQ is not complete without them now, and they normally end up being the star of the show. 

The recipe is so simple, it uses yogurt in place of water and yeast, and it requires no kneading or proving – what’s not to love!? To feed four people, you will need:

500g Self raising flour

500g Plain natural yogurt (full fat works best)

1 tbsp Olive oil

1 tsp Sea salt

½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

(1 tsp dried oregano and ½ tsp smoked chilli flakes optional)

Mix all of the above together in a large mixing bowl, and add a little more flour towards the end if the mixture is too wet to handle. The dough should be wet and sticky, but with a floury coating on the outside. Leave the dough aside for 10 min or so to rest, or until you’re ready to cook. 

©Charlotte Griffiths Photography 2021

When you’re ready, cut the dough into chunks, give a little extra dusting of flour, pat down into roughly 2cm thick pieces and place directly on the hot grill. Don’t be tempted to prod and turn them too soon, wait a minute or two until they are charred and come away easily. Repeat on the other side and serve. They should take just 2 – 3 minutes each side and be nicely charred and slightly puffed up. 

©Charlotte Griffiths Photography 2021

I served them here with lamb chops which I marinated in a fabulous locally made Pomegranate and Cardamom rub by Cut To The Smoke (available from The Southsea Deli). Finished with pickled red onion, fresh parsley, harissa yogurt and a shower of pomegranate seeds, it was an easy and satisfying BBQ meal, but not as you know it. 

Daniel with Basil the dog ©Charlotte Griffiths Photography 2021


Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Beyond the Chapel doors – ART SPACE PORTSMOUTH

Date: June 3rd, 2021

Some of the current studio holders, plus their children

Walking past the former Methodist chapel in Brougham Road, you’d be forgiven for not realising that the building has been converted into studio spaces, used by a diverse range of professional artists all under the auspices of Art Space Portsmouth. 2021 is officially the 40th anniversary of Art Space, although the story began a few years before. 

At the time artists from the Art College were using workspaces above a betting shop in Fratton Road and a private detective agency in London Road. One of the artists, John Thomson, secured an Arts Council grant and with artists Ken Devine, Steve Chettle, and Andy Mansfield, began looking for a larger space to work. The local authority was approached and generously offered the deconsecrated Methodist chapel in Brougham Road. The chapel came with a peppercorn rent, a long lease, a grant to repair the roof, and soon became Art Space Portsmouth.  

Portsmouth was perfect for the purpose of art studios, it offered cheap accommodation, easy access to London, and the city offered good coastal light. It was an exciting time and Art Space quickly became a significant part of the artistic life of the city.

Art Space was initially composed of 13 studios on the ground floor, and a large 144sqm gallery space on the first floor, which became Art Space Exhibition or ASPEX as it became known. Art historian and curator Les Buckingham was appointed the first director in 1984. Under Les Buckingham, ASPEX Visual Arts Trust was established in 1991, as a separate charity to the studio group. 

Cornelia Parker installing her show

The large 144 m square gallery space at Brougham Road with its wonderful high ceiling, has over the years exhibited an extraordinary range of exhibitions by artists including: Turner Prize winner, Martin Creed and many nominees, including Helen Chadwick, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Wilson, Cornelia Parker, Bill Woodrow, Catherine Yass and Mona Hatoum, whose performance work in 1982, ‘Under Siege’ made the national news. It has also shown work by many other well-known and established artists including John Heartfield, Frank Auerbach, Eduardo Paolozzi, Gillian Ayres, Roger Hilton, Bruce McLean, 

Laetitia Yhap, Leonard McComb, Gary Wragg, Brian Catling, Andy Goldsworthy, Rachel Fenner, Jeffrey Steele, Jock McFayden, Darrell Viner and Shanti Panchal.

To meet the demand for artist studios, the once large exhibition gallery was converted to provide more studio spaces. Today there are 31 studio spaces and a waiting list of artists wanting studios.  

Art Space continues to thrive as working spaces for professional visual artists and makers who use painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, film and video, digital art, ceramics, installation, assemblage, collage, mixed media, textiles, and weaving to make their work. Art Space also has a thriving community of offsite artist members who take part in events, exhibitions, and art talks.

The 145-year-old building is in need of some repair, both internally and externally, but with local authority help, Art Space Portsmouth will continue to be a central feature in the city’s artistic life. Its proud and remarkable history, promoting the work and careers of many brilliant and reputable artists, is proof of its unique position on the local, national and international cultural map.

If you would like to learn more about 

Art Space and to see the artist’s studios you are welcome to come to the Open studioS on Sat 3rd July 11am–5pm & Sunday 4th July 11am–5pm. 

Past & Present: Jo Bushnell the director of Aspex Gallery will be in conversation with Les Buckingham at 2pm Sat 3rd July.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, Local & Community

The Omega Art School

Date: June 3rd, 2021

The Omega Art School for adults started in late 2019 and quickly became extremely popular, but had to close in March 2020 due to the COVID restrictions. The School is now offering limited places on its new autumn programme from September to December 2021. Suitable for complete beginners to people with more experience. Choose from a morning, or afternoon class on Thursdays, or a Monday evening class. All materials supplied, affordable fees and small classes. 

Taught by highly experienced artists and tutors, teaching a wide range of classes from drawing, painting, collage and printmaking. Plus short lectures, work sheets and even home assignments, in short, everything you would expect from a traditional art school.  

Tutors include: Kevin Dean, Jacqui Mair, Sadie Tierney and Chris Wood. 

Can’t wait until September? Join our One Day workshops on Saturdays in June and July. Cost per workshop £64 inc materials and refreshments 


26 June An Introduction to Drawing part 1           

10 July  An introduction to Drawing part 2           

17 July  A beginners guide to watercolour    

24 July  A beginners guide to acrylic             

31 July Painting on location acrylic or watercolour  

Please email for a detailed programme and booking details for both the autumn programme and the one day workshops.

Please register your interest with: to receive further details  

Omega Centre  2 Omega Street  Southsea PO5 4LP

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, What's On

Victorious Festival 2021

Date: June 3rd, 2021

Victorious Festival — The UK’s biggest metropolitan music festival — will return to Southsea Seafront this August Bank holiday weekend (27th-29th August). Victorious is set to be the biggest festival weekend in the South this Summer, having announced a line-up brimming with heavyweight headliners — Madness, The Streets, Royal Blood & Nile Rodgers & Chic.’ 

Backing up the heavy-weight headliners is a line-up over flowing with an array of artists ensuring a busy weekend for music lovers. Legendary singer-songwriter Richard Ashcroft will deliver an unmissable set on Saturday at Victorious. Renowned DJ Annie Mac is the Sunday afternoon special guest set, guaranteed to get everyone in the festival spirit!  Rag ‘N’ Bone Man will perform on Saturday bringing his soulful sound to the stage. Across the weekend, you can catch performances from The Kooks, The Fratelli’s, Cast, and Feeder to get your fix of infectious Indie staples. Notably, 90’s pop stars Craig David and Melanie C will both be performing at the festival. Their sets are sure to be a huge family highlight with sing-along hits like Never Be The Same Again, Too Much, Fill Me In and 7 Days on the cards.

Victorious presents a rare opportunity to watch the remarkable Britpop band Supergrass live. While newcomer Jade Bird is another one to add to your festival schedule with a recent NME nomination for ‘Best New Act In The World’. Don’t miss Ella Eyre whose stunning vocals have featured on a whole host of hits including her BRIT award-winning collaboration with Rudimental Waiting All Night, Sigala’s summer anthems Came Here For Love and Just Got Paid and Banx and Ranx’s Answerphone. Plus, Clean Bandit will take to the Seaside stage with a DJ set featuring vocals from lead singer, Grace Chatto creating the perfect summer soundtrack to your Sunday at Victorious! With all of these artists, plus more across the weekend there really is something for everyone to enjoy this summer!

Showcasing Southsea, Victorious’s stunning seafront setting with a metropolitan backdrop creates the ultimate family-friendly festival experience. Alongside the scenery, experience an enormous free Kids Arena (Saturday & Sunday only), 13 stages packed with entertainment, bustling markets, and an amazing atmosphere.

With Friday tickets currently available from £35 and Saturday and Sunday at £45 a day Victorious Festival continues to be one of the best value festivals in the UK.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit


Posted in: Articles, Events

Springtime Picnics

Date: May 9th, 2021

By Daniel Nowland

I think we are all quietly optimistic that a lifting of restrictions on our social lives will coincide with the arrival of warm spring weather. It may be some time before we are sitting in our favourite cafés and bars again, but we should be able to enjoy a spring of outdoor picnics, strolls, and long-awaited catch ups.  

What better way to enjoy the outdoors with a friend than with a special picnic brunch, lunch or afternoon tea? When planning a picnic, consider a combination of food and drink that will complement each other. This will make your experience so much more special than grabbing pre-packaged sandwiches from the local corner shop.

As well as the food itself, it’s worth taking the items which will make everything easier too. Be sure to pack a blanket or a cushion to sit on, some cutlery, plates, napkins, and a bag for your rubbish! There are some great 

places in Southsea where you can buy picnic lunches, but if you’re up for creating your own picnic, I’ve listed some ideas. 

Picnic brunch of smoked salmon &  cream cheese bagels, fresh orange juice and fresh pastries. Adding some olive oil, rocket and black pepper to the bagel will make it super delicious. A lunchtime spread of cured meats, cheese, fresh baguette, and a mix of olives & roasted peppers. This is so easy as it requires no preparation. If you’d like to avoid buying these items wrapped in plastic, The Southsea Deli on Elm Grove sells all of these items from responsible sources, wrapped in biodegradable packaging.

A lunchtime spread of tarts & salads. If you have the time, try making your own tart as it is perfect for picnics, and will last up to five days in your fridge at home. I’ve written a recipe opposite for an easy vegetarian savoury tart. If you’re taking a salad on your picnic, I recommend making a dressing or vinaigrette and packing it in a separate container such as a jam jar. A quick shake and dress at the last minute will avoid soggy salad leaves, and give a brighter, fresher tasting salad. 

Roasted Veg & Ricotta Tart (serves 4)

250g shortcrust pastry (shop bought, or you can make your own very easily!)

4 free-range eggs

100g creme fraiche

100g ricotta cheese

1 red onion, halved and peeled

1 courgette

1 red pepper

1 heaped tsp dried oregano

Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 200oC. Roughly chop your vegetables and toss onto a small baking tray with olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the oregano. Bake for 25 min or until soft and slightly coloured.

Roll your pastry to just less than 1cm thick and press into a 20 – 25cm tart case or tart dish

and lightly prick all over with a fork. Top with greaseproof paper and baking beans and blind bake for 20 – 25 min, until it’s no longer translucent, and is starting to brown. Whilst the veg and pastry is cooking, beat together your eggs and creme fraiche with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Once you’re happy with your pastry, remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper. You can then carefully add the veg, and use two teaspoons to dot the ricotta over the top. Pour over your egg mix and return the tart to the oven for 15-20 min, or until the eggs are cooked and no longer wet.

Set aside to cool before slicing and packing for your picnic!


Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Cycling in the City

Date: May 9th, 2021

Bike sales are booming, but can suppliers keep up and can the city council keep cyclists safe?

W ere you one of the thousands of people in the UK who hauled your rusty bicycle from the garden shed during Covid-19? Or perhaps you bought your first bike since you were a teenager, either to improve your fitness, or to travel to work? According to Cyclescheme, a government backed initiative offering tax breaks to people to cycle to work, 83% of people in the UK ‘picked up cycling again during the lockdown’. And 77% of people plan to continue cycling well after the Covid-19 restrictions have ended. ‘Before the pandemic, bike sales were in decline, manufacturers were using ‘just in time’ delivery methods, which meant once sales picked up last year, we struggled to keep up with demand’ said Kevin Watkins of Southsea Cycles. ‘Fortunately, the supply of bikes has settled down, but certain brands will be in short supply again later this year. One trend we’ve noticed is people buying cargo bikes, to carry children and shopping, which can make the family car redundant. Other people are rejuvenating their old bikes, and we’ve up-skilled our team so that we believe we offer the best bike repair shop in town, if not on the south coast’, said Kevin.  

As well as being great for our bodies and minds, cycling is also good for the environment. Over the past 12 months central government has seen cycling as an easy win to help reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, while also aiding social distancing — allocating £225 million to 40 local authorities to create temporary cycles lanes.

However, will cycles be a serious part of the UK’s transport strategy post Covid-19? Portsmouth might appear to be the perfect city for cyclists, with its flat terrain, shops and facilities within easy cycling distance, but what are the city council’s plans? 

‘Cycling’s a big part of our wider green and wellbeing strategies for Portsmouth, encouraging more sustainable, healthy travel for all’, said Councillor Matthew Winnington.

‘We’re developing new cycle routes and upgrading others, listening to feedback from residents about which areas of the city should link up. The Eastern Road cycle path will be upgraded to make it safer, especially as it is a main route between Portsea Island and other parts of the city and beyond. Purpose-built cycle routes will be built right along the seafront for the first time, as the new sea defences are constructed. 

‘Work is also being done with schools, workplaces, and other organisations to ensure that people are encouraged to cycle across town, and to provide safe storage when they get there. New housing in the city  will have safe cycle storage and on-street secure storage, is currently being piloted in residential streets for use by householders. Whether people are new to cycling, or they have been riding for years, we believe there’s never been a better time to cycle in the city,’ said Matthew.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community, Sport

Southsea artist brings the past to life through her paintings

Date: May 9th, 2021

By Kate Thompson

Casting around for inspiration one day, Fizle Sagar hit upon the perfect way to bring the past to life.

Initially an exercise to keep her artistic muscles flexed, her talent for taking tiny black and white photos and bringing the subjects to life with a muted palette has brought commissions to her door.

“I started painting quite late as I was in my fifties. I enjoyed taking classes and attending courses — and I soon realised that I enjoyed painting people’s faces and capturing the essence of the person.

“It’s not always possible to be able to draw from life, so that’s when I started looking at old black and white photos.

“Some of them are tiny only an inch by an inch and a half, but if you look closely you can still bring that person to life.

“The people in the photos are now in their fifties or sixties so it can be quite emotional to capture them as kids on the canvas,” she said.

Her initial success sparked an obsession and Fizle found painting her own mother 

particularly cathartic.

“I became almost addicted to bringing the people in the photos to life in a way that they had never been seen before.

“It was like reaching back in time and finding these people who are your ancestors and making them real to you as opposed to black and white snapshots.

“It really brought it home to me when I painted my mum. I had always known her as a woman afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis, so it really affected me to see this young woman with healthy limbs,” she said.

When Fizle receives a commission, she first scans the precious family photo and creates a larger print to work from.

“Even when you enlarge the image, you really have to study it to decide sometimes if the person is smiling or frowning.

“I never use garish colours, I am aiming for a slightly faded look,” she said.

For many years, Fizle’s talent went unrecognised. School left her feeling she was no good at art, but she always retained a love of sketching.

“It was reading a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron that really persuaded me to give art another go. The book is for artists who are blocked and gives them a series of things to read and practice.

“After working my way through it, I was encouraged to take up life drawing classes and life painting tuition as well as joining the Prince’s Drawing School in Shoreditch,” she explained.

Painting the Past has become a passion for Fizle, and she admitted that hearing about the reactions to her work has brought her great joy.

“You have no idea how people are going to react to the finished painting — I’m told that people often feel quite overwhelmed when they see them.

“All I can do is give my attention and care to the painting – and hope that is appreciated,” she said.

Fizle Sagar can be contacted by emailing: 


Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

The plight of the bumble (and other) bees…

Date: May 9th, 2021

When we think of bees, we mostly think of Winnie the Pooh’s arch nemesis (and feminist icon) the honeybee, or cute and fluffy bumblebees, but look closely and there are smaller furry bees moving from flower to flower. In Britain we have around 270 species of bee, just under 250 of which are solitary bees. These bees can be amazingly effective pollinators, and as the name suggests, tend not to live in colonies like bumblebees and honeybees. 

Through the great work of urban beekeepers, the number of honeybees is on the rise, but it is generally acknowledged that bumblebees, solitary bees, and other pollinators are on the decline. There is no one answer as to why some species are suffering; however, habitat loss is high on the list. 

You can help, all you need is a meadow, not the rolling acres of the South Downs, but just a small area of your garden – planter or window box – where you can sow the seeds of indigenous wildflowers and grasses and offer a water source for tired wings. 

Another way to help is to become a beekeeper. The rewards are so much more than honey (although the honey is worth it). It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may sound, get started in a few easy steps.

1  Contact your local Beekeeping Association: Portsmouth & District Beekeeping Association

(PDBKA) and other associations have experienced members who are happy to have a chat about how to get started and what to expect. If you move on to get a hive and a swarm of bees, experienced beekeepers are also on hand to mentor new keepers. 

2  Visit an Apiary: The PDBKA has a number of ‘out Apiaries’ where members and non-members are invited along on specific times to get hands on practical experience, which can be a real buzz to first timers. 

3  Take a course: Every winter the PDBKA hosts an eight-week course for beginner beekeepers. Topics include the natural history of the honeybee; equipment, including frame making, diseases and pests, swarming, manipulation of a honeybee colony, the bee year, and products of the hive. 

4  Become a member of your local Beekeeping Association: Even if you don’t have bees and a hive yet, you can become a Country member of the PDBKA. This gives you access to monthly meetings on a number of topics, as well as the wealth of experience that the community has to offer. New members also go to the top of the ‘swarm list’, so it won’t be long before your hive is buzzing. 

For more information or to become a member please visit:

Photo by Emma Morgan

Posted in: Articles, Environment

We’ll soon feel the heat on the Costa Del Solent

Date: April 5th, 2021

Pic: Team Locals Media

Climate change is here and our city will never be the same again. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth are taking action to help us understand what’s happening and adapt.

Dr Nick Pepin, a weather scientist at the University, operates a bespoke weather station. He has observed big changes in our city over the past 25 years. Last summer the hottest temperature on record — a sizzling 31.9°C / 89.4°F — was measured in Pompey on 9th August.

This warming trend is highly likely to continue. Future summer heatwaves will be more intense — and more frequent. Data suggest we’ll be living a ‘new normal’ climate within the next thirty years.

Before you start investing in beachwear, consider the downside: Dr Mark Hardiman from the University says: ‘Southeast England, including Portsmouth, will become much more Mediterranean in complexion, leading to drier landscapes and increased risk of hazards such as wildfire’.

Dr Pepin says ‘tropical nights’ (when the temperature stays above 20°C all night) will become much more common. So if you can’t sleep during those dog days of summer, there may be a scientific reason! He has also observed that winters are getting warmer. For example, in winter 2019/20 we did not have a single air frost in the city.

Both researchers are involved in vital projects to prepare for tomorrow’s climate. Dr Pepin is a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr Hardiman is a co-investigator on a National Environment Research Council funded team, helping to develop a wildfire danger rating system for the UK. And they are not the only ones striving to tackle the climate challenge.

Here’s how you can help prepare Portsmouth for the new climateThe Portsmouth Climate Action Board, which drives the city’s response to the climate emergency, recently launched Climate Action Groups. These volunteer-led groups will meet monthly and help make sustainable change happen in Portsmouth. They’ll feed into the Board’s Climate Action Strategy and the city-wide ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The University is a member of the Board; Professor Steve Fletcher is its Chair. He says, ‘As a compact and crowded city at sea level, Portsmouth is at the frontline of climate change in the UK. Meaningful change is only possible with the support and commitment of individuals and organisations.’

Want to make 2021 the year you act to make your city greener, healthier and safer? If you’re interested in joining a Climate Action Group, or simply want to learn more about climate change and Portsmouth’s response, start at

Posted in: Articles, Environment

Revealing History

Date: April 5th, 2021

How a former sail loft has been stripped back, extended and enhanced
to become the perfect waterside home. By Kate Thompson

By stripping their home back to the bare bones, Amber and Thomas Du Plessis were able to unlock the true beauty of the former boathouse tucked away in Bathing Lane in Old Portsmouth.

“We could see the quirkiness and the opportunity for us to knock it into a good shape,” explained Amber. “Our priority was the layout. The master bedroom was downstairs with a courtyard and outside loo.

“We covered over and raised up the courtyard to the first floor and decided to keep the master bedroom downstairs, reclaiming the courtyard space for a bathroom with the bath and sink opening onto the bedroom.”

Dating back to 1810, the former sail loft was built on the site of one of the first free schools in Portsmouth and the couple wanted to reveal more of that history.

On the first floor they created a light and bright living room rejoicing in the exposed joists and beams. A raised area leads onto the kitchen and dining area, with french doors opening onto the raised courtyard.

“We stripped it back to the bare bones and realised the inner beauty that had been covered up over the decades,” said Amber.

Their corner of Old Portsmouth has always been much sought after but recent additions such as the Hot Walls art studios and the opening of the Canteen have certainly added to the attraction.

“The views and aspects are what makes it. We love seeing the ships go by and we still run outside to see the Carriers pass by.

“There is a really nice close knit community here – people like to have a chat. We’ve got wonderful pubs nearby too and I like the fact you can cut through to Gunwharf Quays via the Camber and see all the fishing boats there,” said Amber.

After nearly 10 years living in Bathing House Lane, Shearwater is up for sale and Amber and Thomas are seeking their next adventure.

“We are looking for a smaller house and want to be by the water – we are even considering a watermill in France,” added Amber.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

In salute of Southsea’s Elms

Date: April 5th, 2021

Southsea Lifestyle

By Emma Beatty

Portsmouth has one of the lowest numbers of trees of any British city – and there are no elms left on Elm Grove – but there are some arboreal stars if you know where to look.

When the tiny pinky-red buds on the elm trees on Southsea Common appear, it’s a subtle but dynamic shift signalling spring is on its way – a far less flashy sign than the purple crocuses that run along the base of their trunks. These boom into life one sunny morning then flop defeated three days later. But then Elm trees are low-key confident sort of characters and hold their ground. Some of these trees have been around over a hundred years, wind pruned into triangular forms by the relentless biting westerlies, salt, and sand. Relatively few species will survive in such a harsh seafront location — and several of the elms are said to have withstood the Dutch Elm Disease disaster of the 1960s that killed nearly all native British elms. Portsmouth’s island geography acted as something of a natural barrier to the beetles that bring the infection.

Other elms on the Common have been planted more recently in a bid to up the city’s tree count. Portsmouth has some 86,000 trees, according to a city council leaflet. This is far too few for such a populous area, when you consider all the good things trees do, as habitats for wildlife, absorbing carbon emissions and cleaning the air we breathe.  Some 50,000 new trees are being planted in the “Horsea Island Country Park”, the landfill site to the west of the M275, and you can see the hundreds of little saplings as you drive past. It doesn’t seem completely clear when it will open to the public but the intentions are good, “to overcome the deficit of public open space” in the north of the city.

Along the Ladies Mile and Clarence Esplanade, the elms will soon leaf out in a show of bright green ready for nesting season and all the complex bird-life goings-on. In winter the common practically reverts to its ancestral wetland – puddles expand into ponds and wading birds dabble in the mud. The famous Brent Geese – that fly over from Siberia every winter – wisely steered clear of the riot fencing and cardboard geese decoys on Kings Field but I’ve seen them on the common digging about for food. They seem to eat permanently (not surprising I suppose as they need to refuel after, and then again before, their mammoth migration to the eastern edges of Europe).

But soon, the geese will be off, and the elms’ foliage will block those bleak mile-wide vistas across the common. In a normal year, we’d be looking forward to all sorts of events there: kites, horse fairs, festivals, maybe even a triumphant re-run of the giant Southsea dinosaur sculpture – but this year, who knows yet.  At least we’ve got the elms.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Southsea Baked

Date: March 30th, 2021

Mother’s-Day-Belgian-Bittersweet-Dark-Chocolate-Mousse-with-a-Wild-Strawberry-insert.-and -tahitian-vanilla-chantilly.

My partner came home from work one morning, telling me all the flights were being cancelled and the airport was like a ghost town. We’d better get a load of masks and gloves before they sell out. 

 Here we are a year and 3 lockdowns later, with the economy likely to take a turn for the worst opening a new business. Crazy eh? We’d considered a unit, or going for broke with loans and all, and opening a full retail unit. We decided to play it safe and go for a delivery only business.

 I’ve worked in the Food Service industry for over 15 years, managing, training, audits, paperwork, stock, hiring and firing, dealing with the scary chaps form Food Standards. You name it, in this industry I’ve done it. Everything form national chains in London, to small family concerns, bars restaurants and the like. 

 My partner has constructed kitchens for some great names, you’ll recognise. Fortnum and Mason, Compass Group, Pret-A-Manger and more. He’s worked with Harrods, Itsu, Yo! Sushi, Spoons, Ramsey, again, you name it in the high end chain restaurant business, he’s been there, constructing, fault finding and being an overly technical boots and braces pain in the butt.

 So we live in Southsea. My other half’s family has been here for at least 4 generations now. We met at a gig. I hail from Bishop’s Waltham. We Fell in love and now have 3 wonderful children and their 4 guinea pigs. 

 We’ve meant to do this for some time now, planning, not quite getting there, research, not quite getting there, back to planning again. So it went, for at least 5 years I’d say. 

 Lockdown came and boom, there it is. The time we needed. Heads down and let’s get this off the ground. 

 I’ve a degree in, and a love for Fashion, art, design and all things cake related. I’m not a bad Baker too. 

 He’s into colours, art, history, food, loves to take a picture, anything technical. Always there to critique. And we both share a love of the outdoors. We are always in the countryside, any weather, any time of year, any excuse. Big gardening fans. Big food fans. 

 Put it all together and you have a business. 

 So..Southsea. We love Southsea. Baking, we’ll definitely be doing that. We need a name..

 Southsea Baked!, that’s it! 

Southsea Baked

Crème Brûlée with Raspberry Compote Tart.

Southsea Baked. Here at our little bakery we are going to attempt to build a business based on the premise that everything from the supply chain to the final product should be sustainably sourced, very high quality, innovative and have that inbuilt little extra, things sometimes seem to miss nowadays. Maybe it’s from my days in the restaurant trade. Nothing get off the pass unless its as good as we can make it. 

 We’ve found some awesome suppliers, from family run purveyors of fine edible flowers, down Dorset way to big name European Chocolate Merchants, with the scope and scale to be able to track their product globally right back to source. We are very much looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish with other local businesses. Localise your supply chains. 

 We are very much looking forward to seeing if our own ethical, conscientious standards can be translated into a cost-effective business model in the long term. You know, really apply that ‘why on earth don’t company x just’ kind of thinking to our own shop? Put our money where our mouth is, kind of business. 

 We’ve spent a very long time developing our own recipes. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a book out later. Head over to our site, sign up for the Mailing List if you’re interested. It’s all the details that take the time. It won’t get around to being printed unless its just so. 

 We don’t want to say too much about the products. Have a look at the pictures here. Head on over to our site. Have look at the pictures there. We hope they are to your liking. We’ve worked hard on them, as we do with everything and we’re getting better all the time. Would be nice to have some new photography kit later on. A new key light would come in handy.

 We hope the descriptions are accurate enough to tempt you in and do not disappointed. We relish the chance for feedback. No improvement without it. We hope to bring you something to talk about, something to taste, something good to read every now and then. We’ll have some kind of blog up soon.

  It’s mainly about the cakes though. We genuinely hope they bring you a little something. Pleasure I suppose? I’d like to think that. 


Southsea Baked


Southsea Baked

Banana Loaf with Cinnamon, Cassia and Organic Molasses

Southsea Baked

Tart au Citron. Lemon Meringue Tart

Southsea Baked



**Southsea Baked! Are open for orders via their website 24/7. 

 They currently deliver Tuesdays and Fridays, 5.30pm to 8.30pm to Post Codes PO1, PO2, PO3, PO4, PO5. 

 They are working on expanding this delivery offering. Sign up to the mailing list on the website to be notified

They regularly produce Limited Edition Products, sourcing seasonal ingredients. These are strictly limited in quantity. Sign up to their mailing list on their site to be notified when they’re available. They sell out fast. 


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Posted in: Articles, Business, Food & Drink

The upside of lockdown

Date: March 8th, 2021

Photo by Rumman Amin

The past 12 months has seen so much tragedy but the Coronavirus has also afforded a special time that families may never experience again. It could be argued that people have stepped back in time and forced to keep within a bubble have discovered family pastimes enjoyed by previous generations. Normally people are so busy that they feel they are on a conveyer belt racing round all the activities and commitments of a busy family with little time to think. The mornings are a rush of getting everyone out of the house to school and work with packed lunches, homework, sports kit and any extras for the day. The evenings are spent making sure all is ready for tomorrow to ease the morning mayhem.


During this latest lockdown families have found more indoor pursuits. Last March the weather was unseasonably pleasant and whilst the only activity permitted was a thirty minute walk families found time to tend to the exterior of their home and garden whether that was painting or cleaning. This winter with long dark nights and cold wet weather it has not been possible to be outside so much. Families have watched films long forgotten and caught up on box sets that are suitable for all to watch. Many have enjoyed jigsaws and board games sometimes across platforms that allow friends to interact. There have been online quizzes and even parties where groups enter “rooms”. There has been a rise in people learning to knit and sew. Board games have been around since civilisation began;  backgammon sets were found amongst the treasures of the Mary Rose, for example. Chess has been played for centuries but following the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” there has been a resurgence in interest. It is not just modern games that are enjoyed.


Even with home schooling and work there is more time in the day with less spent commuting. This affords people the opportunity to cook recipes from scratch, perhaps involving all members of the household and even cooking with others via a social media platform. There is time to join a yoga class online or follow a fitness guru workout. Siblings are forced to interact with each other in the absence of anyone else and have found they have more in common than they thought before.


A new respect has emerged for teachers as parents have found it much more difficult than they thought explaining topics in mathematics and science, for example. However, as a result of home schooling and discussions around the themes studied I know of families who have found time to debate their fictional party guest list or have a balloon debate on who is the more useful between various historical figures. Everyone is more aware of politics and roles in Government.


With the roll-out of the vaccine and hope of a brighter future a return to the near-normal we once enjoyed is on the horizon. This crisis has made many reflect on their lives and priorities and there are aspects of lockdown that many will want to keep.

Jane Prescott

Headmistress of Portsmouth High School

Posted in: Articles, Education

Home swapping

Date: March 3rd, 2021

Normanton Church, Rutland Water. Photo: Ruth Taylor

With no guarantee of being able to holiday abroad this summer, and with stretched household budgets, Ruth Taylor discusses an inexpensive and enjoyable alternative for taking a break in the UK when we’re able to.

“If your parent’s house isn’t wrecked, I’ll consider it!” My husband wasn’t keen on the idea of house swapping for holidays, but my parents came back, had a good time and their house was in perfect condition. That was nearly 30 years ago, and we have been exchanging homes with families ever since. Our first exchange was a long weekend in Bathampton, just outside Bath. When we arrived, our son ran into the garden and climbed into the tree house and said he wasn’t coming down! He was three years old and our daughter a baby. We had a great time.

A house that the Taylor family stayed in – in Rutland Photo: Ruth Taylor

When we came home a woman from Shrewsbury phoned asking if we’d be interested in a two week exchange that summer – her holiday dates matched ours and all was arranged. The Shrewsbury family were experienced exchangers and they helped initiate us into the world of home exchanging, with tips and ideas. Today, we are one of a huge, worldwide community of experienced exchangers and have completed over 50 swaps.

We have been all over the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall. We have also swapped homes with owners in France, Netherlands, Eire, and New Zealand. I can honestly say we’ve never had a bad exchange – we’ve enjoyed them all. We have looked after an assortment of people’s pets – cats, rabbits, hamsters, stick insects and fish. Fortunately, we didn’t have to tend the beehives for a family who lived on the edge of Exmoor, but they did leave us a jar of honey for our toast. In return our various pets have been cared for by our visiting families. By matching ourselves with families with children of a similar age we were also able to swap equipment and toys, and the homes would each be ‘child-proofed’.

Rutland countryside. Photo: Dan Rozier

The key ingredients for home exchanging is communication, flexibility and to be honest about everything. We are members of the Guardian Home Exchange – which is connected to the newspaper, but there are other sites that you can join. The Guardian membership is £59 per year, you get your own online listing which you can edit/manage yourself and contact other members. On the site you tick the tick boxes, to show your preferences, for example we can no longer have small children come to stay as our children have grown up and the house is no longer child-proofed. You can indicate where you’d ideally like to stay, your best dates, and post pictures of your home and surrounding area. I like to leave tourist leaflets, restaurant menus, and copies of Southsea Lifestyle for people to read when they arrive.

People always tell me that they’ve enjoyed staying in Southsea, and some families have swapped with us more than once. Give it a try, and if your home isn’t wrecked you may become a home swapper for life.  

Posted in: Articles, Travel

Lifehouse remains a beacon during the pandemic

Date: March 3rd, 2021

By Kate Thompson

A unanimous vote to stay open at the outset of the pandemic has placed Lifehouse volunteers at the eye of the storm when it comes to looking after vulnerable people during the pandemic.

They have seen the number of people they regularly feed at their food kitchen and drop-in centre in Albert Road more than double as families face the fallout from COVID-19.

Manager, Mike Morell, explained: “We often see up to 200 people if you include the deliveries we make too.

“Around 25 percent of the people we see are rough sleepers and another 25 percent are people living in temporary accommodation or night shelters.

“The rest are people you might not have expected to see coming to us for help. We have elderly people and young families — some have found themselves suddenly out of work, many used to have jobs in hospitality and some have moved down from London.

“Many people are living close to the edge and death, divorce or the loss of a job can make their lives so much worse — and that’s where we can help.”

Thankfully the weeks before the latest lockdown enabled many people who regularly use the services at the Lifehouse to prepare for the worst of the winter temperatures.

“People were able to pick up warm clothing from us just before Christmas. We had a donation of sleeping bags and tents which was fantastic, but we always welcome more as we are down to the last tent,” said Mike.

He admitted the going had been tough during the pandemic, and the team of volunteers have been putting themselves at risk — five are currently isolating so there are fewer helpers doing more work.

“We have people from all sorts of backgrounds who volunteer with us — everyone from musicians and artists to medics and people who have been rehabilitated themselves.

“We do feel we are doing something positive to help people, and it does put a smile on your face when you see someone get a bedsit or move into a shared house,” said Mike.

Latest news is posted on the Lifehouse website and facebook page. If you would like to donate food or items, there is also an Amazon wishlist 

Looking to the future, the team is looking forward to being able to unveil the work that has been going on to create a spacious new dining room and improved facilities for the people who use their services.

“It will mean we can seat up to 60 people and we look forward to being able to provide table service meals in this new setting as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mike.

To find out more about how you can help the Lifehouse team contact Mike and the team at

Donations of food and clothing are also welcomed at:

St Margaret’s Church

The Hive

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

An artist finds his voice

Date: March 3rd, 2021

By Kate Thompson

T here haven’t been too many positive things to come out of the pandemic. But seeing regular social media posts full of wry observations and masterful strokes from the talented hand of Southsea artist Kevin Dean certainly helped to lighten the load of the lockdown for many friends and followers.

His wonderful watercolours that captured our everyday COVID-19-afflicted world were eagerly anticipated, and his followers delighted in the narrative that brought his posts to life.

And now, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, his work has been turned into a beautiful book called #Corona Chronicles, and copies have been sent as far afield as New Zealand, Australia and America.


“At the outset it was never intended as a book — it was more to do with the drawings and capturing what was happening at home. Then I went out onto the streets of Portsmouth — and after a few months of posting my paintings and thoughts on Facebook and Instagram, people started messaging me and asking me when the book was going to be coming out. “At that stage I thought it was very nice for them to say so, but it seemed unlikely.

“Then my friend Alastair suggested running a campaign on Kickstarter, and the response was brilliant. We raised enough money to publish the 120-page book and cover postage to send  copies to all the backers,” he explained.


Editor of Southsea Lifestyle, Kevin has spent a lifetime illustrating books, designing textiles and ceramics, but writing about the Covid-19 crisis has helped him to develop his voice.

“I had never written very much in public before, and it ended up being just as much fun as doing the drawings.

“Some things were pretty obvious for me to cover like the queuing, and the clapping for frontline workers, but then I started to search out other angles and be a bit more reactive.

“It was difficult not to be political when highlighting the errors and mishaps at government level, but I hope I was always able to put this across in an amusing way.

“If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, we now know we have to do things better in the future, in terms of social injustice and the environment. After all, the virus has been caused by man interfering with nature and destroying the environment,” he said.

In his forward to the book, writer, editor, and curator, Les Buckingham, highlights the talents amassed over a lifetime, that make #Corona Chronicles a book you want to pick up and read. “We make a mistake if we think that these graphic insights are not hard won or are easily expressed.

“The skills needed to get these images down on paper are manifold. The easier the process looks the longer it has taken to learn them,“ observed Les.

Following the success of #Corona Chronicles, Kevin said he was considering embarking on more book projects — and highlighted how important his family had been to the publishing process.

“The look and feel of the book has a lot to do with my wife Zirrinia, who made such a great job of the book design.

“Years ago, I would have been correcting my sons’ English essays, but since they’ve been to university, they are now the ones checking my grammar,” he said.

You can buy a copy of #Corona Chronicles for £20 (inc. p&p) by contacting Kevin directly: or  instagram:  @kevinjdeano

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Crumbs of joy

Date: March 3rd, 2021

If I had to dig real deep and try and find some gratitude for the rollercoaster that has been 2020, it’s that we had more time to reflect. The space to look at our lives and work out what we truly need to be happy. Health, support networks, being able to work, and where we live, all seemed to carry an enormous weight in our ability to endure.

It’s been a time to acknowledge and give thanks for these things as our stillness illuminated what is truly important. One tool I was glad I had to help me was gratitude. Since The Grateful Hearts Club launched in 2019, I’ve been practising, sharing, and talking about gratitude pretty much non-stop. It is so present in my life that it’s trained my brain to view each situation and find some positives (admittedly this skill has and continues to be tested to its limits). This habit already got me through some really dark chapters, but this was another test and I was reminded of its power all over again.

Through sadness and struggle I discovered that gratitude has given me a unique way of finding even the smallest joy (crumbs of joy is how I refer to them). It might be a sunrise, birdsong, or a smile from a stranger but each time I notice joy I take a few minutes to give thanks for it. You see, when you start to notice these small joys, you start to see them more. In our old lives they may be things you overlook, small moments that get swept up in the busyness of a day. But, when you take the time to notice them (and better still, engage in them), you have an awakened sense of what makes you feel happy.

In our current upside-down world, you can’t afford to discount these small joys, because a few can really add up! I love that when you realise what brings you joy, you’re better able to add more of these things to your life. This in turn encourages a sense of optimism that there can be joy, and that the choice is with us to use gratitude to see it.

Not a solution to the suffering and uncertainty, but a positive way of thinking that could help encourage a little happiness on an otherwise grey day. I’m working really hard not to lose sight of these crumbs, and do what I can to stay grateful for them. So, on a day where the question ‘What are you grateful for?’ seems like a stretch, ask yourself ‘What has brought you joy?’ and give some thanks around that.

If you’d like to learn more about gratitude, Charla hosts regular on-line gratitude workshops and shares tips to help find joy. Check out or follow @thegratefulheartsclub for more details.

Photos by @libertyphotographyuk


Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

How Small Gestures Can Make Big Environmental Changes

Date: March 3rd, 2021

With climate change and the environment on everyone’s minds these days, isn’t it time to start making some lifestyle changes? According to National Geographic, a whopping 91% of plastic never gets recycled. Our parks are becoming filled with rubbish and we’re running out of places to throw things away. A report released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed that British households create over 26m tonnes of waste each year, the weight of about 260 large cruise ships.

Perhaps part of the problem is that there is a lack of imagination about how to reuse everyday things. Not only that, but all our newest items seem to be of the use it once and throw it away variety. Fewer people know how to repair anything and planned obsolescence has become a way of life. Consider how often we replace our mobile devices. It’s enough to make a person give up and decide to do nothing. Yet there are some small gestures we can make that will pay off dividends down the road. 

Fewer Big Plastic Containers

Consider the large impenetrable detergent containers that take years and years to break down? I will never buy one again. The reports and coverage of plastics in the oceans, we had no idea back in the day what we were getting ourselves into. If everyone made one decision to change behaviours … it would go a long way to healing the environment, maybe not a lot in our lifetime but hopefully for my nieces and nephew. When we first saw those big plastic containers, we thought they could be recycled. However, many of them end up in the landfill, not only in the U.K., but all over the world.

Instead of those huge laundry detergent containers, it’s now possible to buy detergent in a small recyclable cardboard box instead of those big plastic containers.

Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form. Only 12 percent has been incinerated – source: National Geographic. 


Wash with Cold Water 

Use a cold setting on your machine, something I’ve just discovered. Washing your clothes in cold water is a win for two reasons. For one, 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating the water. The second reason is that your clothes will be in better shape and last longer when washed on a cold setting. 

Air Dry Clothes and Dishes

Another small gesture is to air-dry clothes and dishes when possible. If your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, you can turn off the dishwasher before the air dry begins, then let the dishes sit – something else I’ve just learned to do. For clothes, letting them dry outside has the added benefit of giving them a wonderful scent. 

Bamboo and Recycled Paper

Bamboo has been touted for use in everything from flooring to towels, to bed sheets, to toilet paper – read the story behind this recyclable toilet paper brand, it’s a good one. 

Why bamboo? Bamboo is fast growing, reduces deforestation, and it’s safe and strong. And if you can find bamboo products without the plastic wrapping, that’s even better. Another option is recycled paper, especially if it’s labeled “processed chlorine free.” 

Revolution Plastics – University of Portsmouth 

Our local university is working on a transformation project focused on sustainability and the environment called Revolution Plastics. It wants Portsmouth University to be one of the world’s leading universities to drive change in the plastics sector and is working with the city’s authorities to drive Portsmouth as a sustainable city. Referring back to the theme of small gestures helping to contribute towards environmental change, individuals can help by using the Jetsam app to photograph any plastic waste that we see lying around in the city. The app will capture the photo location to build a heatmap of Portsmouth showing current plastic hotspots. Researchers will then use this data to better understand the patterns and movement of plastic waste in Portsmouth and develop solutions to reduce plastic entering the environment. 

As an island city with an active community, Portsmouth is the ideal laboratory for a project like this. Thank you to Southsea Lifestyle magazine for sharing this information. 

Buy Nothing

A very simple way to help the environment is to trade or reuse products. On Facebook, there are groups for people who want to Buy Nothing. We all have too many things, and all that unneeded stuff is hurting the planet. My sister organises a clothes and accessories’ swappage event every year for MacMillan Cancer Support and I can honestly say that what I buy there every year keeps me, and all the other ladies, going for a long time.

Larger Gestures

For some larger gestures that you might consider in the future, I can heartily recommend Tom Raftery’s podcast about the coming Green Revolution. Tom discusses solar energy, electric vehicles, and vertical farming. The podcast is available on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, too. 

In Iceland, there is a technology to reverse climate change.  says that in order to remove carbon from the atmosphere, we need to have two things:

1. a machine that filters CO2 out of the air

2. a safe and permanent storage space to capture CO2

Posted in: Articles, Environment

My first Southsea stroll

Date: February 24th, 2021

By Vanessa Brumm


I’d like you and I to explore Southsea, with new eyes, a pen in one hand, a blank slate in the other. I am Vanessa, new to Southsea, new to the UK. Days before the second lockdown I moved from Germany to a beautiful apartment on the seafront. I remember, quite clearly the first time I began exploring the city.

It was Monday, mid-September. I step out of my new apartment and start walking, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…I have a strange habit of counting every step. After 153 steps I arrive at South Parade Pier. What an impressive structure, men fishing, children running, woman walking dogs, chatting sipping coffee. The sun has only just risen, but the air is bright, crispy, salty. Like a tourist I pull out my phone and take a picture. What a place to wake up to.

Piers in Germany are not very common, at least not in the region I am from. I come from a city called Mannheim, we are surrounded more by hills than water. And yet there is a river, large enough for container ships, overlooked by tall buildings, lots of cars, lots of people. Mannheim is also proudly multicultural, have you come across spaghetti ice cream, a product that was invented by a resident of the city, but originally from Italy, Dario Fontanella?

Southsea is different, but in many ways the same as my home city, both are beautiful in their own way, both have wide vistas and are popular holiday destinations. Do residents still see the place they live in with all it’s delights, or does it become ordinary, too familiar after a few months or years?

I walk back to the beach. On my way, I inspect the facade of the pier, you don’t see what it has gone through during the past decades. The pier  was destroyed three times by fire and restored, it has seen legendary party nights, concerts, skating, plays, and even welcomed General Eisenhower and his troops back from World War II. I can’t wait to be a part of the pier’s history, perhaps dancing on the deck – once life is back to normal.

I decide to get a plant-based coffee at Rio-Vitalise, while I’m waiting, I notice  the back-to-back houses on St Helens Parade, how beautiful the different styles, shapes and colours. One house is tall and white, the other wider, in red brick with large bay windows. My coffee is ready, greedily

I take a sip and burn my tongue. I inspect the houses more closely and realise some have names above their doors, Beach House, Lake House and St Helen’s Court. Naming houses is not something we do in Germany, but as it’s probably the most important and expensive thing someone

might own, why not – it makes sense.

Vanessa Brumm – German editor, news presenter and new to Southsea, trying to challenge herself, finding her own way in this adventure called life.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Lasting Powers of Attorney – A vital life management tool

Date: February 17th, 2021


By Annabelle C Jones LLM – Solicitor

In this time of uncertainty, looking after yourself, as well as our loved ones, has never been more heightened, from shielding and social distancing to hand gel and face masks – we are all thinking about it. 

Also, we are generally living longer, and it is important to put in place the facility for others to assist us in making the choices that we would want, when we would want them, and not relying on the courts to do so. The importance of having a Will in place for when the inevitable happens is well known. Sadly, it is easy to overlook how decisions will be made in the event of becoming incapacitated through illness, accident or old age.  

For example, if you were hospitalised for a long time, who would look after your finances? Who would make decisions regarding the medical treatments you should have? Most people believe that their partner or siblings can make these choices for them, unfortunately this is not true, even your partner is not allowed to make decisions about a joint account should you lose capacity.  

However, a Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPA, as they are more commonly known, will give you control over what happens to you if you should lose capacity.  Once an LPA has been registered then the person, or people named within it (your Attorneys) are entitled to make decisions with you and on your behalf.  

An LPA can be set up to enable your Attorneys to have varying amounts of control, when they are allowed, or not allowed to make choices and how those choices have to be made. There are also other measures available to ensure your safety.

There are two types of LPA, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA. You can have different Attorneys for each LPA, so you can select the best person to deal with the different aspects of your affairs. Your Health and Welfare Attorney can only make decisions should you lose capacity, whereas you can choose if your Property and Financial Affairs Attorney can make decisions prior to losing any capacity.  

All being well, you will never require the protection of an LPA, but  I would advise anyone to consider setting up an LPA, so that in future you will be in control of who can make choices that directly affect you.

Annabelle C Jones is a freelance solicitor and LPA specialist, regulated by the SRA.



Posted in: Articles, Family

Good Grief

Date: February 15th, 2021

by Brian Frederick



On the day Joe Biden took office, I was interviewed by a local radio station – apparently, they’d wanted a Biden supporter’s thoughts on the transition of power ‘back home’. 

One of the questions I was asked was what it was like to be ‘an American in the UK’ over the past four years. Not wanting to cast a downer on the day’s festivities, I cheekily sidestepped the question by joking: “Umm… I’ve actually been a Canadian in the UK these past four years.” 

I moved to the UK in the autumn of 2012, having accepted a place on a PhD programme at the University of Kent. I had only planned to stay in the UK until my graduation. Following the successful viva voce of my thesis in July 2016, I began looking for jobs back home but had no joy. I then accepted a post as a criminology lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire. My plan was to give it three years and then return home ‘for good’. 

That was before Donald Trump was elected.

Although I absolutely loved my time at UoG, I knew of only one other American lecturer, who I never met and so I became the de facto ‘go-to’ guy on the crazy state of American politics. At first, I was happy to oblige. I saw my unofficial advisor role as temporary; I was certain, like many others, that Trump would be deemed ‘unfit’ before he’d even taken the Oath of Office —if not on the basis of his ‘backroom’ business ethic, then certainly on his reputed involvement with foreign election interference. At the very least, I was confident that even those who had voted for him would soon begin to see through their emperor’s new clothes.

Obviously, none of that came to pass and I found myself increasingly (and somewhat defensively) dodging the daily demurs of friends, colleagues and students – about the actions of ‘my’ President: “Can you believe what your President has done now?” “How can your President get away with that??” Or: “How could you vote for him???” (to be clear, I have never cast a vote for a Republican, let alone Trump).

In hindsight, I wonder how many of my fellow Americans – abroad or back home – felt a sense of grief – in this case, not over the loss of loved ones, but rather, because of the resilience of someone they reviled. I should have recognised it in myself, because what began as shock and denial over Trump’s election soon led to pain and guilt over not having done more to prevent it. The way I saw it: not only had I not ‘rocked the (Democratic) vote’, my inaction, had given its opponent a safe harbour. 

I should have also perhaps recognised that I was grieving when my guilt turned to anger. And I wasn’t alone. Looking back over the past four years of social media posts – not only mine, but my (liberal-minded) friends and family – I was struck not only by its pervasiveness, but by its progressive intensity. Indeed, people who I’d never known to utter even the most innocuous of profanities began to curse and cuss like sailors – both online and offline.

It’s no secret that Trump divided Americans. At first, my (our) anger was largely directed at my (our) ‘pro-Trump’ friends and acquaintances – so much so that by the end of Trump’s presidency, few remained on any of my ‘friends lists’. Some were easier to ‘unfriend’ than others. Others unfriended me. ‘Pro-Trump’ family members were the most difficult relationships to negotiate. 

Certainly, one might be justified in assuming that my (our) pro-Trump purge(s) had helped to assuage some of the anger, but no: sadly, it wasn’t long before we’d began to turn on each other (the row between ‘Bernie Bros’ and Biden supporters comes to mind). In an effort to manage the last vestiges of my well-being, I began to distance myself from social media. In fact, I disengaged from media altogether. Not even the BBC was ‘safe’: the risk of hearing Trump’s voice – by now, a traumatising experience – was too great.

With time, my anger faded… but not at a cost: my self-imposed isolation was marked by a profound sense of loneliness. With the loneliness came depression. The stages of grief were continuing to roll not-so-merrily along. 

And then Covid hit. 

But let’s leave it there. I’m sure none of you need a re-telling of the past 11 months. 

Contrary to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s grief model, had Biden not won the election I’m not so sure that I would have eventually experienced the upward tick towards ‘acceptance’ of a second Trump term. In fact, the thought of a renewed cycle of shock and denial, of pain and guilt, of anger and bargaining, of loneliness and depression was so unbearable, I had contemplated abandoning my post at the university and joining a monastery… one without a television and where social media was forbidden. 

And then, on the 3rd of November, my cycle of grief was interrupted. At the risk of sounding cliché, it was if I had woken up from a bad dream… in a field of daisies.

Three months on and the past four years seem like a distant memory. In fact, I haven’t given a minute’s thought to Donald Trump since he boarded Air Force One for Florida.

What will Joe Biden accomplish? That remains to be seen. To be completely honest, I would have preferred a Sanders presidency. But make no mistake about it: I’m happier that Trump lost-out, than I am sad that Bernie didn’t win; I’m happy to have re-joined the daily grind of social media; and, despite our ongoing challenges with Covid, I now watch the news with a renewed sense of hope. 

Ask me how it feels to be an American in the UK now. 😉


Brian Frederick is a senior lecturer in Criminal Justice and Policing at the University of Portsmouth. Brian also presents the Crime & Investigation channel’s latest series ‘Meet Marry Murder’. In his spare time Brian likes to walk his dog Jersey on Southsea seafront.  

Posted in: Articles

Low Cost Cooking 

Date: February 8th, 2021

Regardless of how ‘small’ Christmas may have been, it can still be a time when we spend more money than usual. 2021, although optimistic, has still gotten off to a bumpy start, and is full of uncertainty for most of us. For these reasons, I decided to focus on low cost cooking for this edition of Southsea Lifestyle.

The great news is: low cost doesn’t need to involve any compromise on flavour or enjoyment of food. It is often when presented with a challenge or a brief that we create some of our most delicious meals. Just last week I created the most delicious cottage pie I’ve ever made by omitting the meat, and using up all of the random root veg in the bottom of the fridge left over from Christmas.

The recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s Veg book, and it featured finely chopped root veg, cooked down with marmite, lentils, and spices. It sounds odd, but it resulted in a deep, meaty, warming and delicious base, which topped with fluffy mashed potato and baked, was incredible, and cost very little to make.

Reducing or eliminating meat is a great way of reducing the cost of your meals, and also helps with those ethical and health related targets we like to set ourselves in the new year.

My top tips for reducing meat consumption and cost of cooking include:

• Use a small amount of nduja or cured meat in pasta dishes in place of fresh meat. You only need very small amounts to create maximum flavour.

• Make your own fresh pasta! I’ve talked about this before, but with flour and an egg you can create something epic!

• Eat locally-produced kale, beetroot, or spring greens in place of imported veg such as green beans or mange tout. They are cheap, healthy, and delicious when dressed with a little oil & vinegar.

• Swap the meat out of your Bolognese sauce and replace with finely chopped mushrooms and/or a tin of lentils.

• Buy whole chickens instead of breasts. You will find that a whole chicken doesn’t cost much more than a pack of 2 breasts. If you
roast a whole chicken once per week, you can use the leftovers in meals such as pasta or fajitas, and make a chicken soup by boiling up the carcass with some veg. There’s loads of recipes online to show you how, and chicken soup is great for our immune systems.

• Have a go at batch cooking. Making larger portions of your favourite curry, stew, soup or traybake will save you time and money. Foil trays with lids are available online or from supermarkets. Just make sure you label the lids before putting them in the freezer!

Daniel Nowland, owner of The Southsea Deli

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Welcome Home

Date: February 8th, 2021

Welcome Home

Emma has created her own safe sanctuary. By Kate Thompson


“If this past year has taught us anything it’s that our homes need to be a safe and happy little haven from all the craziness of the world,” said Emma Blay.

Her delightful central Southsea flat reflects the creative flair she brought to her previous role at the now sadly closed Knight and Lee store.

Until its demise, Emma worked as a visual merchandiser dressing the windows and creating eye-catching displays.

While COVID-19 has put plans to reboot her career as a decorator and interior advisor temporarily on hold, she has taken the time to concentrate on her own four walls.

As you can see from the photos, she’s not afraid to have a bit of fun creating relaxed spaces and displaying much loved items.

“I have always felt it is important to surround your home with things that make you happy; if I have a dress or cool shoes that remind me of a special memory or day out, then why keep them hidden away in a wardrobe? I’d much rather wake up and see them and smile,” said Emma, who studied fashion and printed textiles at Winchester School of Art .

She bought her flat three years ago. It was an ex-rental property, but she wasn’t daunted by the tired looking interiors and storage heaters.

“It was in a pretty disgusting state but I knew it was the place for me. I loved the location, the huge windows, and high ceilings,” she explained.


The look and feel has been created on a budget. Second-hand items were snapped up and given a new lease of life, and where she did need to spend on new items like the free- standing bath, she saved money by making her purchase on Black Friday.

“I have always loved making a home. Even as a child I spent hours arranging toys and knick-knacks in my bedroom.

“I would do the same at my friends’ houses –their mums thought I was great because I would tidy their rooms and I loved nothing more than to make it look good,” she revealed.

“Practically everything in my flat is second-hand. My first purchase in Southsea was the black lacquer wardrobe from Bellamy’s (a shop I miss hugely).

“I have never spent much on any of my furnishings and love anything with peeling paint or distressed patina. I found the chrome sink for my bathroom at a salvage yard,” she said.

Emma has some great advice for lifting your mood during the lockdown – why not re-arrange your room?

“Some people have their furniture in the same place for years but I’m forever changing things around.

“At New Year I altered my lounge and moved my sofa – it’s only a small thing but it can really lift you up,” she said.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Red Velvet Martini

Date: February 8th, 2021

Red Velvet Martini

Makes 1
Inspired by the famous red velvet cake, this striking ruby red cocktail is flavoured with vanilla vodka and makes a delightful drink for Valentine’s Day.

50ml vanilla vodka (or 45ml vodka and 1 tsp vanilla extract)
30ml grenadine
15ml red vermouth
Few drops red food colouring
Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Shimmer Sugar to garnish


1. Moisten the rim of a martini glass then dip in the shimmer sugar and set aside.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the vodka, grenadine, vermouth and food colouring then shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Fine strain into the prepared glass and serve.

Image opposite courtesy of Waitrose

Thousands of recipes can be found at



Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Design your Sense of Freedom

Date: February 8th, 2021

Following the success of the Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery Design competition last year, you are invited to send designs for the 2021 design challenge.

Simply design a piece of jewellery and you may win the chance of having it made, free, in solid Hallmarked Sterling Silver for yourself, or as a gift to say ’Thank you’. Plus 4 other finalists will win a £100 bespoke design voucher.

The theme is “Sense of freedom”. Your design can be for any form of wearable jewellery that can be made from sterling silver.

You are welcome to create your design in any media you wish, from using pencil & paper, to CAD or in 3D, perhaps, using wax or wire?

Please upload a single image of your design with its dimensions, along with a design
mood board, see examples on this page, or go to the Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery blog page, where you will also find the link to upload your design.

There is no right or wrong way of creating your design, just let your imagination run free, even if you don’t know how it might be made, we can help you with that.

Molly with her winning design

“…I would really encourage people to take part in the creative competition challenge.  It can help having something positive and different to focus on during these challenging times.

Good Luck!” says Molly, Design Challenge winner 2020

Sense of Freedom Design Challenge 2021
To allow for more participation in our design
challenge we have extended our closing dates:
Closing date for entries 19th February
Finalists announced 24th February

87A Marmion Road  Southsea  PO5 2AX

Posted in: Articles, Business

Tips for Making a Smooth Transition into Entrepreneurship

Date: February 8th, 2021


Image via Pexels

Entrepreneurship offers more flexibility and freedom than you would get as an employee. It can also be one of the most rewarding roles, providing control over your destiny. And in an era of a global pandemic, entrepreneurship is an excellent avenue for those who decide to reevaluate their career choices. If you decide to quit your day job and start a business without direction though, it will be next to impossible to succeed. Explore the following tips for making a smooth and easy transition into the world of entrepreneurship.

Evaluate Your Vision

First of all, as the international accountants KPMG explain, it’s essential to have a clear vision of what you want your business to be. In other words, it isn’t enough to enjoy stitching up old clothes if you plan to start a clothing company. You will need to have some designs drawn out and ideas of how you will market your product. Also, think about whether you can really make money with what you want to do. While passion is important, ensure you can turn your vision into a business. 

Keep Bringing Money In 

If you currently don’t have a job, consider doing something to make money—even if it’s part-time. For example, dog sitting can ensure a decent income, and it’s also a flexible occupation. Plus, many dog sitters find their job so fulfilling that they make it into a full-on career. 

If you decide to begin a dog sitting business, however, it’s important to do it right. You will want to make sure your home is set up for it, such as removing choking hazards and poisonous plants, keeping toilets and trash cans closed, and locking cabinets that hold medication and other items that could harm pets. 

Put Yourself Out There

No matter how good you are at your passion, you won’t be successful without people knowing about you. Be sure to get your name out there to begin building your reputation and winning over clients. Social media is a good way to increase your exposure and customer base, and there are plenty of freelance specialists who can help you get the word out on any variety of channels. 

Additionally, you should also consider advertising in local newspapers and publications, such as Southsea Lifestyle. While social media can certainly help you connect with people, you won’t get much exposure if you don’t already have a dedicated following. To that end, publishing in a local paper will allow you to effectively connect with those in your community who could utilize your services. Advertising your dog sitting business in a national publication, for example, may not get you the explore you want when compared to advertising in a local publication. Also, make sure you do plenty of research about the publication beforehand to ensure that your advertising dollars are going to a publication that has a wide circulation in your area.

Keep Perfecting Your Craft

Whether you’re newly starting or are 20 years into your craft, Business UpNorth explains you should never stop aiming to improve. Business owners who enjoy long-term success are rarely happy with the status quo, and if you aren’t sharpening your skills and coming up with new ideas on a regular basis, your chances of plateauing are much higher. Keep your passion alive, and don’t settle for your current level of expertise, even when you’re succeeding. 

Taking the leap into entrepreneurship can truly pay off, but it’s much more likely to do so if you properly prepare. Assess your vision and passion and keep money flowing in as you transition. Be sure to market yourself and remain hungry to improve at your craft. Before long, you could be turning your business into a full-time gig and building a thriving career!


“Derek Goodman is an entrepreneur. He’d always wanted to make his own future, and he knew growing his own business was the only way to do that. He created his site Inbizability, to offer you tips, tricks, and resources so that you realize your business ability and potential now, not later.”

Posted in: Articles, Business

University in a time of covid

Date: January 22nd, 2021

By Ishika Rakshit a first-year student at the University of Portsmouth

In September 2020, my parents and I stood outside at my new university residence, unloading the car, ready to move in. Two other families who were also there, saying goodbye to their children wearing face masks. Only one parent was allowed to enter my flat at a time, whilst maintaining a safe distance from everyone else. I was very nervous about my first day at university and the face masks and the social distancing added to my feelings of unease. However, after finishing unpacking, to ease my nerves, my family and I went off to explore the city.


My first impression of Portsmouth was very refreshing; I found the city to be very beautiful. There is something for everyone. We went to the seafront and although it was a cold day, I could imagine the pleasure of sitting in the sun or strolling along the promenade in the warmer weather. There was a huge shopping centre, Gunwharf Quays, with its various fashion stores and cute cafes. Near to my residence, there were other independent cafes, pubs, nightclubs and supermarkets. To my surprise, I even found food stalls with the seductive smell of coffee and pastries.


During the few months I spent exploring Portsmouth’s quiet streets, the more I wondered how much livelier the city would have been if covid-19 was not present. My university did its best to ensure that everyone was safe whilst being able to socialise and engage with each other as much as possible. Testing sites for both symptomatic and asymptomatic students were available, hand sanitising stations could be found throughout each building with thermometers at each entrance. Rooms were regularly sanitised and there was a one-way path through every university building.


These precautions were especially crucial for students such as me, who are majoring in subjects that cannot be solely taught online. As a biology major, I have had both online classes, as well as face to face classes (lab exams). This blended form of learning was only possible with regularly updated and adapted timetables.


Despite all these safety measurements, the university tried to ensure that first year students were at least able to get a taste of what Freshers week might have looked like. They formed an on-line Freshers week for all first-year students to participate in. The nightclubs, shops and restaurants were also open for the first few weeks for students, until another lockdown and a curfew were introduced. In the first few weeks of university, I was able to take advantage of the nightclubs as very few students were present on the university site. However, as more students started arriving, the restrictions got stricter- to the point that we were not allowed to visit other student residences.


Needless to say, this was not the best year to join university. At the time of writing, I have decided to stay in my hometown of Slough, as our face-to-face classes, including lab sessions, have been cancelled due to the lockdown. So, I can only join online classes. Regardless of all these necessary restrictions, I still have had the chance to enjoy and experience some university life and the charm of Portsmouth. I look forward to returning to the city as soon as possible.

Posted in: Articles, Education, Health & Fitness

Watching for Lapwing, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Date: January 13th, 2021

Lapwing by Darin Smith

Lapwing, green plover, peewit, tewit – this bird of many names is a spectacular sight in winter. You don’t always have to go far to spot lapwings, as in winter their numbers increase in Britain as birds flock in from the colder continent. You can see them on farmland and grassy areas in wetland sites (like estuaries, lakes and reservoirs) at this time of year, roosting balanced on one leg with their heads tucked away or feeding on invertebrates.


The flight of lapwings is unusual and can be described as ‘floppy’. Their large, rounded wings move slowly, feathers spread and showing flashes of the white feathers underneath; the slow wingbeats can make them appear to float and is very recognisable feature of the lapwing. Springtime flocks dart and zigzag, these amazing aerial displays confuse predators as their flight and mixed colouring make each bird hard to focus on.

At first glance their plumage may look dark and dull but look a little closer or watch it catch the light and you will see the iridescent sheen of greens and purples. Both males and females have a crest on their heads, although the male’s is longer and showier.


Their other names of peewit and tewit relate to their call. Lapwings often call as they fly, the calls can sound a little robotic. Around 140,000 pairs breed in the UK, some will remain here over winter but many more arrive as their numbers more than quadruple in the winter. As they are not breeding it is a good time to look for lapwing on the coast. They may be joined in their flocks by other wading birds or starlings, taking off together as dusk settles to find a safe place to roost.


Unfortunately, these fascinating birds are declining, and they are now red listed by the RSPB. Changes in farmland practises has been a big factor in their decline as nests fail and food is increasingly scarce. Like other plover species, lapwing next on the ground, meaning their eggs and chicks are particularly vulnerable to predation and disturbance. There are some positive trends however. On nature reserves and other sites that are managed for wildlife there has been recent increases in lapwing populations, as more pairs manage to successfully raise chicks. It is hoped that with careful management of the land they may once again become a common bird of our countryside. 


Posted in: Articles, Environment

Thrive with Style in 2021

Date: January 7th, 2021

Style and Career Consultant, Emma Gotz talks to Southsea Lifestyle and shares her top tips to thrive with style in 2021.

I’ve always loved this quote from Maya Angelou “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive: And to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style…”

So here is my offering to you on this first week of 2021, to help you thrive and be a little more ‘Maya’ this year; my 5 Step Dressing for Success System.

Step One Lifestyle audit

Identify your lifestyle so your wardrobe works for you. What percentage of time do you spend at work, relaxing or taking part in leisure activities and finally going out or attending special events *


Step Two – Identify your personal style

Do you enjoy wearing floaty romantic dresses, artistic fabrics, dramatic patterns, classic pieces or natural hues?


Step Three – Identify your body shape

When you understand which styles compliment your body shape you can curate a wardrobe full of clothes that make you feel super confident


Step Four – Wardrobe edit

Once you’ve worked out steps 1-3, you need to see what’s in your wardrobe. You’ll be able to identify clothes you’ve never worn and why; clothes that don’t spark ‘joy’ and why, as well as items that are past their best, too big or too small and finally you’ll see what is missing.


Step Five – create your own capsule wardrobe

What do you have left after your wardrobe edit and how many outfits can you create? Does anything need replacing and what do you now know is missing? This is the fun part, now you can build a wardrobe that suits your lifestyle, personality and shape.

I guarantee my 5 Step Dressing For Success System will help get you thrive not merely survive this January!

Remember, I’m here if you feel inspired and would like some help with any of the above.


Emma Gotz
Follow Emma on Instagram @emmagotzstyle


*audit realistically but perhaps with the hope we will move into a post pandemic lifestyle soon.

Posted in: Articles, Business

Domestic abuse campaign asks: Is This Love? Or is it domestic abuse?

Date: January 7th, 2021


A new campaign to highlight the signs of domestic abuse in the run up to Christmas and New Year, has been launched by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership.
Is This Love? aims to raise awareness about all forms of domestic abuse, including emotional and financial, which often go unrecognised. The campaigns asks individuals to consider whether their relationship is healthy, or whether it could be abusive.

As well as pressures around Christmas, the impact of lockdown this year has had a significant impact on many individuals living with domestic abuse.
Clare Jenkins, Portsmouth Superintendent for Hampshire Constabulary, said: “This campaign is particularly pertinent at this time of the year when we know that the number of domestic abuse cases reported increase. It’s important to be working together to ensure that anyone suffering from domestic abuse knows where to get help.”
A few year ago, Kirsty Mellor, from Portsmouth, found the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

“It didn’t begin with physical violence,” she said. “It was subtle and gradual – to the point everything I did throughout my daily routine I had him in mind; from tins stacked front-facing and toothpaste squeezed correctly to gravy made with water first. He dictated the way I did everything and anything.

“When he was cross he would hurl abuse at me. He was always sorry after, but that didn’t break the cycle and the violence soon escalated to physical abuse.”
Tackling domestic abuse has been a priority for the Safer Portsmouth Partnership for more than a decade, and there is always an increased demand for support around this time of the year; more so with the impact of the pandemic.

Cllr Lee Hunt, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Together with many partners city-wide, from all backgrounds and ages, our work to reduce and prevent domestic abuse will never stop.

“40% of all assaults in Portsmouth take place in a family setting, and witnessing violence is a risk factor for perpetrating violence and/or experiencing further abuse – so it’s paramount that we do everything we can, particularly during such difficult times and at this time of the year, to raise awareness of abusive behaviours and ensure people know where they can go to get help.”

The domestic abuse service for Hampshire, Stop Domestic Abuse, supports anyone affected by unhealthy and abusive relationships. The team run a helpline from 9am-9pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am-6pm weekends and bank holidays.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council and Chair of Portsmouth Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“During lockdown, we continued to provide support for families and individuals experiencing abuse, and made extra funding available for the city’s domestic abuse service, Stop Domestic Abuse – to help manage the increased demand. If anyone is experiencing domestic abuse and needs support, we’d encourage them to reach out. Stop Domestic Abuse are here to help seven days a week.”

If you need support, call Stop Domestic Abuse, on: 023 9206 5494 or email If it’s an emergency, always call 999.
Find out if your relationship is healthy by taking a short online survey at
Safer Portsmouth Partnership is a group of public organisations – including the council and the police – responsible for reducing crime and substance misuse in Portsmouth; ensuring that the city stays a safe place to live in, work in and visit. The Partnership is part of the Portsmouth Health and Wellbeing Board.

Contact Information
Hayley Cook
Corporate communications officer
Portsmouth City Council
023 9284 1990


Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

Kerbside glass recycling

Date: January 3rd, 2021

Exasperated from seeing glass recycling banks overflowing, Oliver Oakley and his business partner Owen Horsley set up Just Glass last year – Portsmouth’s first kerbside glass recycling scheme.

They offer households in Portsmouth, as well as Gosport and Fareham, and surrounding areas, an easy way to recycle for a monthly subscription fee with plans starting from £7.99 for a single recycling container along with the monthly collection.

Customers receive an eco-friendly, 100% recycled, Just Glass container to fill, which is then emptied at the end of each month.

We offer convenience to the customer, in the form of having somewhere to put their glass waste, rather than in the normal waste bin, but at the same time we ensure it goes to a recycling plant and does indeed get recycled as opposed to ending up in landfill.

A big part of our idea, with recycling in mind, is saving the planet. Convenience just comes with it.’

The pair, who met at junior school, have also pledged to donate 10 per cent of all profits to Portsmouth-based ocean conservation charity Just One Ocean.

Oliver said: ‘We feel this is our way of giving back into an environmentally friendly charity, with the oceans being a hot topic. The charity is also local to us. We hope to be a great donor.’

Just Glass UK are rated “EXCELLENT” on Trustpilot.

Louise from Portsmouth said “Superb service, brilliant communication and hassle free – what’s not to like? Thanks Oli and Owen. Very happy to support a local business who are doing something good for our planet” while Mark in Southsea said “Excellent service, fab quality box, reminder emails before collection day. This is one of the best local services and I am delighted to support it, as well as our planet of course. Would strongly recommend.”

Every December residential glass consumption increases by up to 60% and unfortunately the majority of that finds its way to landfill, where it will sit for millions of years.

Simply visit their website and purchase their unlimited collection plan. For a one off payment of £25 they will collect all of your glass waste in the first week of January. Perfect for the Xmas and New Year clean up!

The duo collecting tonnes of glass each month and Increasing the city’s recycling rates a bottle at a time are calling on residents to think about how they dispose of their glass waste.

Posted in: Business, Environment

Crimbo Wino: How To Drink Well!

Date: December 7th, 2020


Southsea Wine Siren aka The Grape Slayer

Right, who’s thirsty?!

Given the predilection for over-indulgence that xmas inevitably brings, now’s a great time to explore healthier, more planet-friendly options for your festive boozing.

Now, natural wine means transparency. No hidden additives, preservatives, pesticides or manipulation. Most folk don’t realise there can be over 40 additives in wine sold throughout the EU, WITHOUT legally having to put it on the label…shocking! More often than not the temple throbbing hangover you experience is actually a chemical detox, rather than a punishment from the wine gods…they want you to have fun!

So if you’re keen to swerve the hangovers and support independent producers making artisan wine, check out my recommendations below and start enjoying the virtues of real wine. Made as nature intended with no nasties.

1 The Force Celeste 2019 Pet Nat by Mother Rock is EVERYTHING. This hazy salmon pink sparkler is a glorious tribute to South Africa’s native varietal, Pinotage, whose bright fruit is masterfully transformed into this lush fizzbomb. Aromas of raspberry, blood orange & earthy rhubarb with a fresh yet creamy baseline on the palate. The grapes are harvested early from dry farmed bush vines to capture the bright aromatics and the whole bunch pressed into used 500l barrels to start a natural 10 day fermentation. Before completion, juice is transferred to tank & bottled, spending 9 months on the lees before disgorgement. Pure, versatile & devilishly moreish- chill before serving. £30
Pair with smoked salmon, appetisers, risotto, salads and grilled meats.



2 Martin Diwald is one of Austria’s brightest rising stars, a second gen winemaking ledge & all round wicked guy. Pioneering biodynamics in Wagram, this broski’s wines are influenced by love, care & air— and so was born the name of this wine: The Luft & Liebe ’17. With 2-3 weeks skin contact & 18 months in ancient acacia, this beauty makes for a smooth, fruity mouth bomb. All the cherry with savoury notes & stunning structure, it’s pure, vivid, luxurious & un-definable…just how Martin likes it. Serve cool, not too warm, to enjoy the evolution as it reaches room temp. £25
Pair with red meats, grilled veg, aged cheeses, pies and pizza.

3 Metamorphika, Chenin ’18 from Tarragona, Spain. The 60 year old vines for these grapes are so delicious that this is only the 3rd vintage Joan, the winemaker, has managed to keep safe enough from the wild boars to produce enough wine to release! 1000 bottles to be exact. After a slow, cold ferment in amphora to avoid oxidation the wine is aged for 9 months in old French oak before bottling in clay. Saline & mineral, it’s the ultimate refreshment: pure, unadulterated realness with enough acidity to stand up to a whole host of dishes. £23
Pair with fish dishes, pasta and creamy sauce, goats cheese and chicken.

If you’d like to buy or feel a yearnin’ for a learnin’ after reading the tasting notes above. Visit and explore the Grape Slayers natural wine club
membership subscription!

Posted in: Articles, Business, Food & Drink

An important message from Father Christmas

Date: December 7th, 2020

Photo by zainab mlongo on Unsplash


Southsea Lifestyle are privileged to have been sent a special email from the man himself, which he asked us to print. We are only too happy to oblige…

John Worsey

Dear People of Portsmouth,

Season’s Greetings! I write to fill you with festive cheer — my elves and I are ready to bring joy to you and those you love once more.

We are loading up the sleigh, sprinkling the reindeer with magic snowflakes that help them fly, and mapping a route to take us right around the world on Christmas Eve, missing no chimney whatsoever — no local lockdown will stop us!

Preparing for this Christmas has been a time like no other. Never before have we had to deep-cleanse the toy workshop between each shift. More importantly, never before have we had to bring quite so much happiness to the world.

You might be wondering if this Christmas can really feel like Christmas at all, what with the virus making people sick and scared and everything. So take it from me — in times like these, we need Christmas more than ever.

Try a little experiment for me. Close your eyes and think of Christmas for a moment — then open them again and read on… Done that? Good.

Now, how did that make you feel? There’s no right answer. Maybe it made you happy. Or perhaps it brought a tear to your eye, or a little pulse of anger — perhaps because you can’t see someone you love this year, or can’t afford to buy presents you wish you could.

But remember this: Christmas is not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you can do. And what you can do — this year, every year, no matter what — is give the world your love.

You might be thinking ‘what a soppy old man.’ You would be right! I certainly am — and proud of it. Now, what am I wittering on about?

Well, of course an act of love might come in gift wrap. But really, an act of love is simply showing someone you care about them. You don’t even need to know them well. They might be someone who serves you in a shop. Someone who delivers you a takeaway. Someone who pops the Christmas cards through your letterbox.

This year, a lot of people are a little bit worried about the future. A little bit sad about the year they’ve had. A little bit tired and grumpy and sensitive. So when you see another person, give them a gift from me and you: a good deed. A kind word. Or just a smile (even masked, a smile shows in your eyes).

This Christmas, what will make the season truly bright are magical acts of love created by you. Speaking of which, I will relish those mince pies you leave for me; most kind!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, and, with all my heart, a Happy New Year.
Your friend,

Santa Claus

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Tickled pink at Southsea Guitar Centre

Date: December 7th, 2020


Tickled pink at Southsea Guitar Centre written By John Worsey


D uring lockdown, my newfound ‘you only live once’ attitude took an unexpected twist when I bought a neon pink guitar from a man in Germany. When it arrived, it certainly brightened up the house. But to brighten up my playing, it first needed a little fettling. Off I went to Southsea Guitar Centre on Highlands Road.


‘Oh, my eyes!’ exclaimed the Centre’s Mike Wilson when I opened the case to reveal the shockingly hued guitar in all its garish late-80s glory. Being more of a tasteful acoustic guitar player, it’s not really his thing.
But owner Steve Wright’s eyes lit up. He takes pride and pleasure in setting customers’ guitars up so they play perfectly – and here was a rare bird indeed. Much friendly chat ensued and when I returned to collect my guitar, freshly restrung and adjusted, it was night-and-day different.


We’re unusually fortunate in Southsea to have not one, but two, independent musical instrument shops serving the community (the second being Street Level on Albert Road, whose owner Barry expertly repaired my acoustic guitar when it suffered a crack).
The last decade has been a story of small brick-and-mortar music shops closing across the country, unable to compete with massive internet-based ‘box shifters’.


The secret of our local shops’ success? Quality of customer service. As the wall-mounted ‘message of the week’ in Southsea Guitar Centre recently read, ‘JEFF BEZOS WILL NEVER MAKE YOU A CUP OF TEA!’


Steve is clear that ‘personal service’ will always be central in his mission to revive the shop. He first worked there 20 years ago, but when he took ownership in 2016 there were just 26 guitars left in a place which once boasted 750. Steve says, ‘The only option was to start again, gradually building up, and people who had stopped coming, are coming back.’


Mike recognises that ‘music shops are intimidating places.’ This is a pitfall the small team at Guitar Centre work hard to avoid. He recalls, ‘We had a lady come in here directly after visiting a national chain where she’d been standing for 15 minutes and nobody spoke to her; we made her a cup of tea and she left with a nice guitar. We’ve had beginners coming in for strings and
they’ve ended up getting an hour’s guitar lesson for free.’


There’s a friendly, open and sociable atmosphere inside. Locals regularly pop in to shoot the breeze about all things music and guitar. And people travel from as far afield as Bristol to have their guitars serviced or repaired, because of how much they trust Steve’s work. No surprise since, as Mike says, ‘Steve can’t let things off the bench until they’re good enough for him.’


He’s also honest to a fault. A few years ago, he was featured in The Portsmouth News after brokering a deal on behalf of a local lady. She had taken her late husband’s pristine vintage amplifier to Southsea Guitar Centre and asked Steve if he would take £200 for it. He insisted it was worth much more – and, after doing plenty of research, sold it to a collector in Canada for £2,500.


Good old customer service is alive and kicking at Southsea Guitar Centre. Please do shop local and show our independent music shops your support – we really are lucky to have them.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Culture Vulture

Date: December 7th, 2020

Photo: Mataio Austin Dean

Culture Vulture written by Emma Beatty
Did you see the queues to get into the old Debenhams on Palmerston Road last month for the We Create Market? Apparently, some 4000 people visited over the weekend to buy from local traders. It’s buzzing once you get inside, with many more stalls than I expected. I bought all sorts – handprinted fabrics, a Portsmouth mystery trail book, Sloe gin, hand-knitted Christmas baubles, handmade soaps, and various other ingenious things destined for Christmas presents. There’s a café too, with local wine and beers. The market is open the second weekend of the month (7-8 Nov, 12-13 Dec), and is a collaboration between local arts groups, the city council and Portsmouth University.
Local arts organisations are facing great hardship because of social restrictions. Southsea’s King’s Theatre recently received a £3 million loan from Portsmouth City Council for a regeneration project, which will also see it develop a restaurant and rooftop bar. This is wonderful news for the long term. In the short term, the Kings is one of the very few major theatres on the South Coast to be staging a pantomime this year. The theatre staff have gone to huge lengths to organise the social distancing for its “Pompey panto”, Dick Whittington (29 Nov-31 Dec). Expect lots of jokes about wearing masks and keeping two metres apart.
Likewise, Groundlings Theatre in Kent Street is rising to the occasion to bring some much-needed festive cheer with its new version of A Christmas Carol (11-30 Dec). This favourite local venue was recently taken over by a newly formed charity, so deserves all our support.
Pre-Covid plans to hold an ambitious show of local artist John Green’s artworks in the Portsmouth Dockyard in 2021, organised by Jack House Gallery in Portsmouth, have re-started and further news on that will follow, but in the meantime, Jack House has set up a dedicated John Green instagram account to post his pictures and related images of Dockyard-themed art. Take a look at @johngreendockie.
Green’s work is currently part of Portsmouth Revisited II in the City Museum alongside that of many other Portsmouth artists including Garrick Palmer and Derek Boshier. If you haven’t been in the museum for a while, it’s very much open and this is a wonderful exhibition full of paintings from the city archives that rarely get seen – A history of the city in art from 1679-1900. If you’re local, you’ll recognise classic views of Spice Island, the shoreline and famous ships by artists such as WL Wyllie and Edmund Crawford. It’s worth going to see the 1679 panorama of Portsmouth by Hendrick Danckerts, said to have been commissioned by Charles II, and on loan from Her Majesty The Queen.
Also at the City Museum is the poignant sight of a rare Dodo skeleton, one of about 12 in existence and the only one privately owned. It’s the centrepiece of a new display about extinction; the poor Dodo having been wiped out by humans less than 100 years after they were first discovered. D is for Dodo, E is for Extinct explores the fate of several extinct species and British wildlife now threatened with extinction. The new display, which runs until 2021, is drawn from Portsmouth’s natural history collections, recently made accessible through the current Wild about Portsmouth Project, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Many specimens are being displayed for the first time in over a decade and have been supplemented with loans from Dinosaur Isle, Hampshire Cultural Trust and Bournemouth Natural Science Society.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Shop, or takeaway – all at the click of a mouse

Date: November 13th, 2020

The second lockdown has particularly affected our retailers and hospitality sector at a time when many of them would normally expect to be benefitting from the run up to Christmas. 

However, it’s worth checking out what your favourite shop or restaurant is offering online as most shops have a click & collect or a free delivery service. Plus, some tasty take away options for food outlets. 


Barbara Tipple’s jewellery workshop is busy but is able take orders for Christmas – just call or email to discuss your ideas for a commissioned piece or to purchase something from the existing collections.

13 Marmion Rd
023 9275 3025


Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery 

If you are thinking of giving someone special jewellery this Christmas, or perhaps you plan to marry in the new year, you can have a free, no obligation design appointment via Zoom! Click & collect, or free, insured Special delivery for online purchases. 

87A Marmion Rd
07880 705981


Coastal Remedy 

For all things natural and organic check out Coastal Remedy’s website. Click & collect or free delivery for PO1 – PO6, or postal service. You can also make an appointment to take a virtual tour of the shop or call for advice about your potential purchase. 

13 Marmion Rd
07711 090371


Design House Southsea have numbered many of the products displayed in their windows – you can then email the item you wish to purchase complete with its number, you will get a call for payment and to arrange delivery. Soft furnishings are still being made by sewers and upholsterers email to place an order or request information.
55-57 Marmion Rd


Pigeon Books 

If you are yearning for a good read over lockdown, Pigeon Books are offering a free local delivery and click & collect service and if the title you want isn’t in the shop, they can get it for you.
1 Albert Rd


Seeded (next door to Pigeon Books) can supply you with everything you need to keep you crafting all winter. All purchases can be made via their website with a click & collect service, or free delivery in Portsmouth, plus if you are looking for inspiration check out Seeded’s social media.

Seeded 1a Albert Rd


White Dog Gallery is working behind closed doors to fulfil picture framing orders for Christmas and if you hurry there’s still time to frame that special picture in time for the big day. See the website for giftware, although not everything is shown online, but you are welcome to phone. Also, art supplies can be collected by calling or emailing ahead. 

White Dog Gallery 11 Stanley Street
07955 987 242




Herbies Healthfood Store 

Most food shops are open more or less as usual, but Herbies Healthfood Store are also offering delivery to PO1, PO4 & PO5, plus click & collect. You can also buy gift vouchers to give as gifts this Christmas.
241 Albert Rd


Florio’s Italian food store is tucked away in Copnor, but their website is just a click away where you can order authentic Italian produce to be delivered free to your door anywhere in Portsmouth, (orders over £40).
Unit 5 Claybank Rd Copnor



The Duke of Buckingham is continuing its hot lunches for the elderly and vulnerable 6 days a week at £5.50 per day or £30 per week, delivered free to people’s doors in PO1, PO4 & PO5. 

And if you don’t fancy cooking a Christmas lunch you can also order a Christmas dinner for up to 6 people, check out the menu & delivery details on their website.

The High St, Old Portsmouth
023 924491


At the newly opened Sisters Café you can walk in, or order online, where their menu can be viewed, offering a wide selection of takeaway delights, from breakfast / brunch to a blow out Sunday lunch. 

25 Marmion Rd 02392 820800


Posted in: Articles, Business

Art + Science

Date: November 3rd, 2020

Southsea children’s illustrator and writer Neal Layton, talks about his influences and how his book Poo helped him to develop a new way of working.
“I want my illustrations to look as immediate as possible and I often make 20 attempts at the same picture, only to use the one I did first,” said Neal with a laugh, who has illustrated over 70 children’s books, mostly for other writers, but also for several of his own titles as both author and illustrator.
At school Neal’s best subjects were in science and he did a complete U-turn when he went to art college. “It’s worked out well though, as I have been able to combine both art and science with some of my non-fiction books”, particularly his widely acclaimed books, A Planet Full of Plastic and A Climate in Chaos. “Initially I wasn’t sure how to approach non-fiction subjects, but I did a book with Nicola Davis, a presenter on the BBC’s Really Wild Show, called Poo. The book was actually  all about animal’s poo –  a fascinating subject that lent itself to fun and invention and Nicola really encouraged thatapproach. With the climate change book, I was aware of not wanting to alarm children or to be depressing, but I think children are often more aware of environmental issues than their parents. When we go shopping, our children turn into the palm oil police,” said Neal, who is married to the artist Sadie Tierney.
In the tradition of the illustrator John Burningham, Neal likes to combine mixed media, collage and photos in his work. “I’m also influenced by the bold simplicity of Andre Francois’ books and I’m a great fan of Quentin Blake’s lively lines”.
Unfortunately, Neal didn’t need to travel far to take photos of plastic waste for A Planet Full of Plastics – much of the photographic collage was taken on Southsea beach and at Canoe Lake. “I also had a lot of help from Clare Seek, the Southsea environmentalist and David Jones, founder of the Portsmouth charity, Just One Ocean. I’m always amazed that whenever I need to find an expert, there is always someone ready to help living on Portsea island” said Neal.

Neal Layton

With children having so many distractions from electronic screens, do children’s books have a future? “Children’s picture books sales are actually doing very well. I think it’s because parents and children like to have a book in front of them, it’s not the same experience if they are sharing a bedtime story using a tablet or computer screen”.
What books are you working on at present? “Each year I illustrate about 2 books for other authors and then one that I have written myself. After publishing the plastics and climate change books, I decided that both issues were very much linked to bio-diversity, which is what David Attenborough has been talking about recently. I’ll have that book ready by the end of this year. It’s a good subject because it gives me the chance to research and draw lots of plants and animals. I like to think the environmental books might give the younger generation an interest and passion in looking after the world more responsibly than adults seem to have done so far”.
You can also buy signed copies of Neal’s books A Planet Full of Plastic and A Climate in Chaos at Pigeon Books, 1 Albert Road, Southsea.
A Planet Full of Plastic and A Climate in Chaos are published by Wren and Rook.
Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable is published by Walker books.
Southsea Lifestyle competition for children from 4 to 12 years old
Design a poster (A4 or A3) that helps us think about the environment, maybe not to drop litter, to walk and cycle more, or to use less plastic? Please email a photo of your design  to: Neal and Southsea Lifestyle will pick
4 entries to receive a signed copy of A Planet Full of Plastic or A Climate in Chaos.

Posted in: Articles, Environment, Local & Community

No Distractions

Date: November 3rd, 2020

black lives matter portsmouth
Following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, photographer Charlotte Griffiths began to photograph people of colour living in Portsmouth
It seems a long time ago now, but on June 27th a friend and I, along with my 10 year old daughter, joined the Black Lives Matter march from Guildhall Square to Southsea Common. It was wonderful to see so many people come together to show support and unity. I was particularly moved to see my daughter raise her voice and hold her placard with pride. She listened to the speakers and their heart-wrenching stories of racism and quiet injustices. She was surprised and dismayed that our society, despite its many advancements, can still be found wanting and may still judge a person, simply by the colour of their skin. Coming home she spent hours researching black history and begged to watch Selma the story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery to secure equal voting rights. We had many tears throughout the film which led to many subsequent discussions.
Seeing my daughter actively wanting to learn more about black history, I knew there was something I needed to do as well. As a photographer, a photography project seemed to be the response I was looking for.
My project featured women and children of colour in the Portsmouth area. Of all ethnicities, ages and backgrounds. I wanted the portraits to focus purely on them, no distractions…

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community


Welcome Home

Date: November 3rd, 2020

Home is where the art is. By Kate Thompson

Ever since she was a child, Claire Harvey has enjoyed making her surroundings look and feel the best they can.

In those days it was her own room that got the focus of her creative energies and her mum, who was also a keen decorator, was happy to allow Claire to express herself within her own four walls.

As the photos of her central Southsea home show, Claire’s passion for colour and texture has grown and now she has become a trendsetter through her Instagram account documenting the transformation of her home.

“I’ve always loved doing this. When I was younger I was forever redoing my room. My mum and aunties are all really into their homes and making them look nice – and it’s my thing too.

“Although I love my job, it isn’t particularly creative, so this is my creative outlet,” said Claire, who heads up employer partnerships in early careers and apprenticeships.

Two previous Southsea homes have been transformed. When they moved to their current address, they realised it would be a major project and Claire admitted there were times when she questioned what they had done.

“We were looking for another project and a bigger garden and it turned out this house was right under our nose. The previous owner had been here for 20 years so it needed a bit of love and updating.

“We started at the back of the house with a new kitchen, central heating, rewiring and new windows before getting onto the cosmetic stuff.

“The first six months were pretty hard, especially for the children. We had moved from a lovely home to a building site but it was worth it and they love it now,” she said.

Claire and husband Nick did all the design work and turned to architects Thorns Young for the drawings, calculations and managing the planning application process. Builder and joiner Jamie owns Hartts and was invaluable for the tricky bits. He did the entire kitchen build and renovation, re-installed all their fireplaces and the downstairs loo as well as wood panelling in their bedroom.

“We get experts in for plumbing and electrical work, but we do like to do the decorating ourselves and sourcing the elements that will bring a room to life is such fun. For the bigger decorating jobs like the hall, stairs and landing, we did get some help from Southsea Decorating Company and Ashley from there also renovated our lovely orange front door.

“I love a bargain, and it’s great to mix old and new. We’ve got a unit in the kitchen that cost £65 from a house clearance, and I get such a buzz out of it because it looks so great,” she said.

Art has played an increasingly important part in how Claire pulls a room together, and it is one of the areas where she is happy to invest.

“I love art and if I have some birthday money I love to treat myself to a print. We have some wonderful local artists and I love Roo Abrook and the fairground light signs from Missing Chopper based in Hayling Island,” she added.

From the outset Claire has documented the transformation of her home on Instagram and she has developed such a following that she is hoping to do more with her love for interiors.

“I’ve been helping friends for a while and other opportunities are starting to develop. We are going to be featured in a future edition of Real Homes magazine and I am starting to get approaches from collaborators.

“There’s also quite a little scene on Instagram with local interiors people and we are arranging a meet-up soon,” said Claire.

Follow claire on instagram @harvey_home_eclectic 

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Festive Feasting

Date: November 3rd, 2020

by Daniel Nowland


Let’s face it, Christmas is going to be odd this year. It’s too early to know how odd, but our celebrations are likely to be smaller, quieter, and for some, they will be emotional. Whatever this Christmas looks like, we can all hopefully enjoy the company of our nearest and dearest, and Covid cannot stop us from enjoying some fabulous food.
It’s so tempting to over-shop, over-cater and over-eat during December, leading to guilt and dieting in January. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. With some thought and planning we can use December to indulge in the very best food we can, in a quantity which won’t leave us reaching for the Rennie.
It is really worth spending an evening with a pile of recipe books, and planning some meals for key dates in the diary, whether it’s having a friend over or even for the big day itself. If you’ve always wanted to try making your own pasta, now may be the time! Homemade ravioli filled with chestnuts and blue cheese would make a fabulous starter on Christmas day. Not sure how to make filled pasta? We run filled pasta making classes at The Southsea Deli!
Regardless of pandemics, Christmas food shopping is a time to vote with your wallet for shops you respect and believe in. If that means buying everything from one supermarket, then so be it. If that means shopping at small independent local stores, then I know for certain those businesses will really appreciate your support. Often those smaller stores will be passing that custom down the chain to their local, independent suppliers too.
In my own store, the majority of our suppliers are small independent artisans. Therefore, Christmas is an opportunity for many of us to make up for the losses we’ve encountered through the year, especially this year!
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, meat- eating, or like myself, “flexitarian”, then Christmas is a great opportunity to trade up to some great quality vegetables, cheeses, cured meats and sweet treats, from local trusted producers. Rather than buying your canapés frozen from a supermarket, this is definitely the year to do some planning and make them yourselves, even if it is a party of two!
Christmas Hamper
As a one-off this Christmas, we are giving away a luxury deli hamper to someone who needs a special treat. We’re inviting readers of Southsea Lifestyle to nominate someone in Southsea who really deserves a special hamper, for any reason related to the COVID pandemic, or even for another reason entirely, you decide. To nominate someone for this lovely surprise, please go to Christmas Hamper Competition

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink, Local & Community

Africa and The Solent

Date: October 1st, 2020


In celebration of October’s Black History Month James Rayner talks about some of the discoveries he made for his recent book

From as far back as the Roman period, people of African origin have played an important part in British history. Every corner of the country has its own unique story of how black and mixed-race people have made their mark – and the Solent is no exception. 

Starting in the Tudor period, we can find evidence of individuals of African origin, from a West African diver, investigating Solent shipwrecks in the 1540s, to freed black slaves being disembarked on the Isle of Wight in the 1570s. Recent research proves that at least one crew member of the Mary Rose originated from Morocco or Algeria.

By the 17th century, North African pirates were often visiting the waters of the Solent, and during the Georgian period numerous black servants worked in the grand houses of the gentry. Black soldiers were not uncommon too, and records for the Isle of Wight show black and mixed-race men from Haiti, Guadeloupe and Barbados serving in British regiments.

In 1796, over 2,000 black and mixed-race Caribbean prisoners of war who had been fighting for the French, were brought to be held at Porchester Castle. Some were eventually sent to France in exchange for British prisoners but others enlisted in the British Army and remained longer. For example, in 1804 one of the former prisoners, a mixed-race Haitian soldier called Toussainte Ruppian, was stationed at Parkhurst Barracks on the Isle of Wight.

My research for The Isle of Wight’s Missing Chapter focused on the Island’s black history, and has uncovered over 100 men and women of African origin who were either born on the Island, lived there, or just visited – all before the Second World War. Some of the visitors were very well-known people like King Cetshwayo of the Zulus, Prince Alemayehu of Ethiopia, the black British circus owner Pablo Fanque and the Jamaican model Fanny Eaton. I also discovered Islanders of African or Caribbean heritage being born as far back as the Georgian period along with newspaper reports of black men and women settling on the island throughout the 19th century.

There’s sure to be similar discoveries to be made in Portsmouth. Did the dockyard employ any skilled black shipwrights? Were there any Caribbean lady’s maids working for the well-to-do of Southsea? And did any black actors make their debut appearance at the New Theatre Royal? There’s certainly much more black British history still to uncover, and it’s up to all of us to bring these stories to light.

James Rayner was born on the Isle of Wight. He has written various articles for print and online magazines. The Isle Of Wight’s Missing Chapter, is his first book, published by The Book Guild Ltd, £9.99

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

Does your homemade mask work?

Date: October 1st, 2020

This article was first published in The Conversation  

by Simon Kolstoe, Senior Lecturer in Evidence Based Healthcare and University Ethics Advisor, University of Portsmouth.

I f a surgeon arrived at the operating theatre wearing a mask they had made that morning from a tea towel, they would probably be sacked. This is because the equipment used for important tasks, such as surgery, must be tested and certified to ensure compliance with specific standards.

But anyone can design and make a face covering to meet new public health requirements for using public transport or going to the shops.

Indeed, arguments about the quality and standard of face coverings underlie recent controversies and explain why many people think they are not effective for protecting against COVID-19. Even the language distinguishes between face masks (which are normally considered as being built to a certain standard) and face coverings that can be almost anything else.

Perhaps the main problem is that, while we know that well-designed face masks have been used effectively for many years as personal protective equipment (PPE), during the COVID-19 outbreak shortages of PPE have made it impractical for the entire population to wear regulated masks and be trained to use them effectively.

As a result, the argument has moved away from wearing face masks for personal protection and towards wearing “face coverings” for public protection. The idea is that despite unregulated face coverings being highly variable, they do, on average, reduce the spread of virus perhaps in a similar way as covering your mouth when you cough.

But given the wide variety of unregulated face coverings that people are now wearing, how do we know which is most effective?

The first thing is to understand what we mean by effective. Given that coronavirus particles are about 0.08 micrometres and the weaves within a typical cloth face covering have gaps about 1,000 times bigger (between 1 and 0.1 millimetres), “effectiveness” does not mean reliably trapping the virus. Instead, much like covering our mouths when we cough, the aim of wearing cloth coverings is to reduce the distance that your breath spreads away from your body.

The idea is that if you do have COVID-19, depositing any virus you may breathe out on either yourself or nearby (within one metre) is much better than blowing it all over other people or surfaces.

So an effective face covering is not meant to stop the wearer from catching the virus. Although from a personal perspective we might want to protect ourselves, to do so we should be wearing specially designed PPE such as FFP2 (also known as N95) masks. But, as mentioned, by doing so we risk creating mask shortages and potentially putting healthcare workers at risk.

Instead, if you want to avoid catching the virus yourself, the most effective things to do are avoid crowded places by ideally staying at home, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands often.

Two simple tests

If effectiveness for face coverings means preventing our breath travelling too far away from our bodies, how would we go about comparing different designs or materials?

Perhaps the easiest way, as demonstrated by several increasingly shared pictures or videos on social media, is to find someone who “vapes” and film them breathing out the vapour while wearing a face covering. One glance at such a picture dispels any suggestion that these face coverings stop your breath escaping.

Instead, these pictures show that your breath is directed over the top of your head, down onto your chest, and behind you. The breath is also turbulent, meaning that although it does spread out, it doesn’t go far.

In comparison, if you look at a picture of someone not wearing a face covering, you will see that the exhalation goes mostly forward and down, but a significantly further distance than with the face covering.

Such a test is probably ideal for examining different designs and fits. Do coverings that loop around the ears work better than scarves? How far under your chin does a covering need to go? What is the best nose fitting? How do face shields compare to face masks? These are all questions that could be answered using this method.

But, in conducting this experiment, we should appreciate that “vaping” particles are about 0.1 to 3 micrometres – significantly bigger than the virus. While it is probably fair to assume that the smaller virus particles will travel in roughly the same directions as the vaping particles, there is also the chance that they may still go straight forward through the face covering.

To get an idea of how much this might happen, a simple test involving trying to blow out a candle directly in front of the wearer could be tried. Initially, the distance coupled with the strength of exhalation could be investigated, but then face coverings made from different materials and critically with different numbers of layers could be tried. The design of face covering that made it hardest to divert the candle flame will probably provide the best barrier for projecting the virus forward and through the face covering.

Try to blow out a candle using different masks.

Without any more sophisticated equipment, it would be difficult to conduct any further simple experiments at home. However, combining the above two tests would provide wearers with a good idea about which of their face coverings would work the best if the aim was to avoid breathing potential infection over other people.

Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

Play on, play on

Date: October 1st, 2020

W ith the recent easing of lockdown measures, across a number of sectors, including theatres, music and performance spaces. As one of the first sectors to close in March, and the last to be able to open, what does this mean for the city’s numerous cultural venues…

Beloved Southsea landmark The Wedgewood Rooms is one such venue, its doors remaining closed since late March.

‘Our business revolves around the most dangerous things anyone can do in this pandemic,’ says Geoff Priestley, general manager. ‘Unlike pubs we can’t open on small numbers. We need to be 50-66% full just to break even.’

Scott Ramsay

Even as lockdown lifts, Scott Ramsay, director of Creative Harbour, notes that the public might not be ready to return. 

‘Only a third of the British public are happy to attend events; another third might be persuaded depending on a range of factors, but the rest won’t engage until a vaccine is found.’

It could be some time before the thriving entertainment scene returns, but that doesn’t mean an end to our local events industry – far from it. The lockdown has shown that if there’s one word to describe Southsea creatives, it’s ‘resilient’.

Tash Hills

Earlier this year, Jazz songstress Tash Hills was in studios recording new original music, but lockdown forced a change in her plans.

‘It was a choice,’ says Tash, ‘Either sit there and do nothing, or grab the opportunity to make the best of it.’

So, with the help of her partner Ashley, Tash recorded and produced her new single Stepping On Out – entirely remotely. The process took three months, but her hard 

work paid off: Tash’s single was recently featured on BBC Introducing. Now, Tash embraces remote working: ‘There’s always more to learn’.

Production company Trash Arts have also been embracing the “new normal”, finding innovative ways to make films and host events.

Sam Mason Bell

‘We had to adapt,’ says Trash Arts filmmaker Sam Mason Bell, ‘Now we have one actor and a skeleton crew, and we film outside to maintain social distance.’ 

Their creativity is working, as Sam and his team just wrapped on the upcoming horror film Senseless.

Omar Mahmood Lagares

Trash Arts have also moved their open mic night, Open Ya Mouth, from Albert Road to Facebook live. Its host, Omar Mahmood Lagares, is finding a way to recreate the supportive, encouraging energy of Open Ya Mouth remotely. 

‘We take video submissions, and we host a Facebook livestream for everyone to share their wonderful works’, says Omar.  

Trash Arts may be adapting, but Sam admits the pandemic has had a significant effect on his work. ‘With minimal actors and crew you lose the normality of closeness,’ says Sam, ‘We’ve lost that communal vibe.’   

Geoff Priestley shares a similar sentiment on the Wedge: ‘I miss the buzz. That moment when the crowd roars when a band finishes their first song. The emotion is so strong you can almost touch it.’

For Tash, losing her live performances was particularly difficult. ‘It’s like going to church; it’s like therapy. When I perform, my pent-up frustrations just disappear. I miss being able to sing away the blues.’

At the time of writing, the government has announced a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to save as many of the UKs cultural and heritage assets as possible, some of which is targeted towards performance venues…

‘Given the return on investment and number of jobs involved, the government won’t be able to save everything,’ says Scott Ramsay, ‘Monthly losses will outstrip the recovery fund when the furlough scheme ends.’

‘Live events will continue,’ says Scott, ‘But now our challenge will be to make sure cultural experiences can include everyone – so that no one is left behind.’

It is more important now than ever to support local venues and artists. 

See Tash Hills on Facebook. Buy merchandise from The Wedge on their website, or donate via their crowdfunding page.

See Trash Arts’ website and Open Ya Mouth on Facebook

Photos by Paul Windsor, who specialises in music/band photography. Paul has been working on a new collection of photos, see Facebook Portsmouth Artists in Lockdown

By Rosie Wiggins

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Top tips for choosing a school during the Covid-19 pandemic

Date: October 1st, 2020

By Jane Prescott 

When choosing a school for your child after a search online it is usual to make a visit either at an open day or for a bespoke tour. Since the Covid pandemic many schools have moved their tours to be entirely virtual and seeing the school in action on a working day is not possible due to guidelines around bubbles and social distancing. If left with the choice of making the decision based on what you can view on the web, here are some hints as to what to ask to see – and what is important to know.

Most schools offer an online face to face call with the Headteacher, senior member of staff or the admissions registrar. This way it is possible to ask all the usual questions and to get a feel for the establishment along with the ethos. Your child could join in depending on age. Have your questions ready but standard ones may already be covered on an FAQ page. Use your precious time wisely and ask about what matters to you and your child, this might be about academic ethos, approach to education and whether the school values the creative subjects, for example.

Use the school website to find out everything possible by looking at news pages, any digital tours and information on examination results and inspections. You may also be able to look at biographies of staff and current or past pupils. There might be taster days albeit online and other ways to interact with the school community. Reviews on the school website as well as those on sites such as Mumsnet give a flavour, but must always be tempered by the thought that families have differing values about education and what suits one child may not suit another.

Even a virtual open day opens up opportunities to meet people connected with the school and obtain a deeper understanding of the school’s pastoral care and academic curriculum. There is the possibility of acquiring more knowledge about co-curricular clubs and activities and whether they are provided during, or after, the official school day.

Your choice of school will depend on practical needs too such as ease of transport and whether the school has wraparound care. Much of this information will be on the website.

It will take more than one visit virtual, or otherwise, so start your research early.


Jane Prescott is Headmistress of Portsmouth High School

Posted in: Articles, Education

Mayville High School – educating the ‘whole child’ – the head, the hands, the heart

Date: September 7th, 2020

Mayville High School was founded on the core principle of educating the ‘whole child’ – the head, the hands, the heart. At the end of what has been an incredibly challenging year for all of our pupils and their families, seeing so many happy faces on results day is the perfect reminder of everything that we believe. Our departing Year 11 pupils achieved a 95.4% overall pass rate, with 96% of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and Maths. We are, of course, inordinately proud of our pupils’ results; but it doesn’t tell the whole story of their educational journey. The class of 2020 have faced unique challenges, with bravery and good humour; they have shown kindness and incredible resilience throughout, and can now look forward to the next stage of their young adult lives, with confidence and positivity.

Headteacher, Rebecca Parkyn said, “It’s lovely to see our Year 11s collect their GCSE results following such a turbulent time for them. Happy pupils and happy parents is what we want to see and we got that on results day. The U-turn by Ofqual was very welcome and our pupils received the grades allocated by staff who know them best and who have an understanding of the context in which they achieved. We are delighted with our results. Our staff team deserves our sincere thanks for all their hard work in such difficult times.”

Mayville has high academic standards and we strive to achieve the best outcomes for our pupils. We also believe learning should be fun and that happy children flourish in an environment which values and promotes inclusivity, community and a sense of belonging. This is the balance at the heart of our ‘whole child’ approach and we deliver this, in practice, through our independent curriculum, small class sizes and first-rate pastoral provision. This is the Mayville difference.




Mayville High School,
35-37 St. Simon’s Road,
Southsea, PO5 2PE
023 9273 4847



Posted in: Articles, Education, Education

Cooking Through Covid

Date: September 1st, 2020

Image credit: Carrie Lavers Photography

The ‘C’ word has rocked our world this year, from how we socialise, to what we’re eating. The panic buying we saw in March made many of us realise we had been taking our food supply chains for granted. Whilst the egg and flour shortage was short lived, it was created by an increase in demand, not a shortage in supply. Covid didn’t change the amount of eggs our hens lay, or the ability of farmers to produce wheat. However – we saw a huge increase in people cooking from scratch to pass the time at home. Hopefully some of the sourdough virgins are still baking, and sharing the love of warm bread with their friends and family. 

Learning to cook from scratch is a valuable skill, regardless of any pandemic. It can save you money, bring a dimension of content, and give you better nourishment and nutrition than pre-prepared or processed foods. Jamie Oliver’s “5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food” is 

an amazing book for helping you turn simple and humble ingredients into something delicious, quickly and easily.

For many people, lack of confidence and organisation can be the biggest barriers to cooking at home. I would always advocate giving your kitchen a de-clutter, investing in a good sharp knife and if possible, try to plan some of your meals for the week before you go out 

food shopping. Having the correct ingredients at hand will make you more likely to cook, and less likely to cave and order 

a take-out! 

We’re all aware now more than ever of the importance of eating well, for the benefit of our bodies and our immune systems. This doesn’t have to involve “dieting”, but could simply be eating more fresh veg and less processed food, whilst still enjoying the odd sweet treat or take-out. A trip to a local independant food store, or the Hampshire farmers market could be the inspiration you need to enjoy some delicious seasonal fruit and veg.  

Living on the South Coast, we’re lucky to have tonnes of nutritious food growing on our doorstep, whether it’s tomatoes from the Isle of Wight, or incredible root veg from Hampshire. If you’re looking to up your veg intake, you could check out local veg ninja’s Bellord & Brown. Their instagram is full of the good stuff, and they also offer home delivery to the Portsmouth & Southsea area.

Covid may have taken a lot of our freedoms, but let’s not let it take our love of cooking and good food. Stay safe and eat well people!

Daniel will be writing further features about the food world for Southsea Lifestyle, look out for his next article in our Nov/Dec edition.

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Totally well

Date: September 1st, 2020

Luke Newton of Sweat Fitness takes a sideways look at how there’s more to keeping ourselves fit and well than simply exercising

Many of us have suffered varying degrees of social isolation over the past few months. Although isolation might be perceived as being negative, I’ve heard countless accounts of people who used the isolation they encountered as an unexpected chance to reflect on their lives and their futures. The chances are that most of us are somewhere in the middle – having had our deep and meaningful moments, alongside less inspiring days, drinking too much wine or bingeing on chocolate biscuits. 

At the start of the year, my life and business partner Tina was about to announce the launch a new wellness festival at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. We wanted to base the festival upon the 6 pillars of wellness, each entwined with the other: physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual wellness. The festival didn’t go ahead of course, but we strongly believe in the importance of those 6 pillars to help achieve a healthy and fulfilling life. They now seem more important than ever. We ran an anonymous survey of seventy-five of our gym members and over 90% suggested they were exercising though lockdown to serve their mental wellbeing, as much as for the physical benefits.  I’m not sure we would have had such a response pre-COVID. It really is positive to consciously exercise to look after ourselves for more than just our physical wellbeing. Many of us are realising the importance of nurturing more meaningful relationships, of spending our time and our money more wisely, of supporting local businesses, and considering our responsibilities towards the environment. In short, assessing what really matters to us.


Putting it into practice 

I think that to find true wellbeing, we need to look at each aspect of wellness. We may not have come out of lockdown with abs of steel, but we could take steps to be less sedentary and to exercise or train daily. I was recently surprised by a group of my friends joining a WhatsApp group with the intent of being more active and healthier. Without COVID, this would never have been mooted. The conversation was centred around feeling better, having more confidence, being better people, and better parents. Most friends, acquaintances, and clients I’ve spoken to in the past few months have a newly-found openness to discussing wellness, and it is really refreshing. I hope that the conversations continue, and I hope that our local authorities join in and support us too. We have an opportunity as a community to close roads to traffic, to eat, exercise, cycle, and play outside. Our island city is compact and could be the first in the UK to truly put pedestrian and cycle traffic first. We have an opportunity to reverse some of the impacts our lives have on our oceans. As a coastal city, let’s have those conversations whilst understanding it is about our collective wellness – with each aspect entwined.

Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

Southsea Choir hits the right note

Date: September 1st, 2020


Cantando Female Voice Community Choir has been hitting the right note during the lockdown, raising money for an important cause and continuing to sing safely.

The brainchild of founder Becs Robertson, the choir boasts 42 members and they have managed to keep singing despite the restrictions.

Becs explained they have utilised the latest technology to capture their voices singing a variety of tunes – and they have raised a whopping £3,920 so far for the Aurora New Dawn charity.

“When the lockdown came, we were all determined to keep the choir going. We are a large group, and there is a real feeling of sisterhood between us.

“We’ve used Facebook Live on a closed group to keep going. It has been a learning curve but once we got used to it, that was when we thought we would take things a bit further and record our singing to support a good cause,” said Becs.

‘Something Inside So Strong’ was the first song they recorded and Becs admitted it put her technical abilities to the test.

Each choir member recorded themselves singing and Becs mixed each of the 42 voices to create the final track.

“Aurora New Dawn charity kept popping up on my Facebook feed and when I put it to the choir, they agreed it was a good cause for us to support,” added Becs.

Becs friend and choir member Clara Flethem was then able to take the activity to a new level by using video recordings of the individual signers to create a polished final film with each track.

Shonagh Dillon, CEO of Aurora New Dawn, said: “We are so touched by the efforts of the choir and in particular Becs. We feel like they have walked alongside us for the whole of lockdown and they just kept going, releasing songs week after week. The fact they didn’t falter is a testament to their commitment to raise funds for survivors. The money they have raised will go towards the retention of our helpline which we are continuing post lockdown for the foreseeable. The choir has done amazingly well by raising so much money and so much awareness. They have energised us at Aurora and we will be forever grateful to them.”

“It has been a strange experience but singing with the choir has helped us to come through this – we will be doing a virtual gig at the Jolly Sailor on August 29 and we hope to ultimately raise £5,000 for Aurora New Dawn,” added Becs.

You can find Cantando Female Voice Community Choir on Facebook Cantando Female Voice Community Choir


Written by Kate Thompson

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, Local & Community

Pressing play

Date: August 6th, 2020

By Malisa Sledmare

Its been a tough time for everyone recently, not least for the numerous entertainment venues both near and far. The question now is how will we all get going again if 2m social distancing is still in place when we open again? Most venues will not be commercially viable with a 2m radius between each party, a 224 seater auditorium would only be able to seat 42 people. Ouch.

However, let’s look on the bright side! With good luck and a following wind No6 Cinema is hoping to open its doors again in September after what would have been our usual summer break, but how will we lure people back to our lovely cinema? 

Many of the films that would have been released over the last few months have been held over, whilst quite a number of movies have been distributed to on-demand streaming platforms. Universal Pictures made a pitch perfect call by postponing the release date of the new Bond film until November. There were gasps of disbelief at first that it should be pushed so far back, but they got their timing pretty much bang on. Other big hitters such as Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan have films in the pipeline so what with those fabulous films to look forward to, plus cherry picking some of the best films that have already been released, we will endeavour to put together a programme so tempting it will prove impossible to stay away.

Apart from the delectable programme of films being the main way we can encourage people to come back to the cinema it is also really important that No6 makes you feel safe, comfortable and confident that every effort and protocol pertaining to safe behaviours has been followed. We will have to ask customers to book online or pay by contactless card and practice the required social distancing. All our volunteers will be trained and will be following best practice guidelines for venues.

Films are life changing and cinema can make a huge difference to how people feel about themselves and their lives, they are transformative and make a big difference to communities. That’s why it is so important to keep independent cinemas alive.

No6 will need your support when it re-opens, we are a not for profit organisation, and we are completely reliant on our audience for income.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Smoking Gun Sausages Recipe

Date: August 6th, 2020

by Elly Mitchell

Once upon a time the term ‘voyage’ was used to describe a long journey, often involving perilous travel – over the past few months, it could have referred to the treacherous act we involve ourselves in each week as we wait outside Tesco for an hour, before desperately raiding shelves in search for milk and flour.

The curse of the superstore has offered a fantastic opportunity for people, like me, to delve further into the world of shopping local, allowing the chance to support independent businesses whilst avoiding chaos in the process.

During a time where a lot of recipe fundamentals were far and few between, I was introduced to Spice Island Chilli, a local business offering a delicious range of handmade chilli sauces. 

I really wanted to cook something that really complemented the intricate flavours of the sauce, and so, these Smoking Gun Sausages were created, so named for the rich, smokey notes boasting from the chipotle and tomato base of Bligh’s Revenge.



You will need:

2 tbsp sunflower oil
8-12 good-quality pork bangers
1 pack unsmoked bacon
2 onions diced
2 crushed garlic cloves
3-5 tbsp Spice Island Chilli Bligh’s Revenge sauce
400g tin chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
A medium glass of red wine
400g tin kidney beans
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pop the sausages into a pan with a drizzle of oil and fry for ten minutes, or until browned. Take them out and put to one side before throwing in the chopped bacon (make sure you cut the rind off – I would recommend thin strips or squares) when your bacon is cooked, take it off the heat and pop to one side with your sausages.
  2. In the same pan, add your chopped onion and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until you start crying (note: does not count if you are crying for reasons outside of onions) you’ll see the colour changing quite quickly as it picks up all those heavenly meat-fat flavours! Add your garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  3. When you are happy that your onions and garlic are soft, add in your marjoram and Bligh’s Revenge chilli sauce – season with salt and pepper.

    Note: I would recommend starting with one tablespoon of chilli sauce and building it up over the course of the recipe to suit your taste; although this is a particularly mild product, it’s still easier to add than to take away.

  4. After a minute or so of stirring your base ingredients together, it’s time to throw in your chicken stock, chopped tomatoes, wholegrain mustard and Worcestershire sauce
  5. Add your red wine – I pop in roughly a 175ml measurement.
  6. Add your sausages and bacon into your sauce and give it a good mix. Cover your pot/pan/dish and let simmer for 20 minutes before adding in a can of kidney beans and allowing to simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.

The result? A marvellously rich and smokey sausage casserole that dances on your taste buds, whilst offering a very welcome punch of heat.

Spice Island Chilli sauces are perfect for people that like their dishes full of flavour and are looking to find ways of breathing new life into those simple, traditional recipes. 

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

The Crafty Vulture

Date: August 6th, 2020

Make do and mend – letting go of lockdown by Emma Beatty

And we’re back; wending our way out of lockdown. I feel I’ve gone back in time over the past few months; learning to embrace my inner Miss Marple, with ever-greyer hair pinned up in a bun.

Part of me quite enjoyed finding ways to fill the time: queuing with a wicker basket, making tea in a teapot, drinking out of a cup and saucer, crocheting things out of lilac wool, painting watercolours of cats –  and cycling along the seafront at a stately pace. I haven’t started pickling my own gherkins yet, or darning socks – but I feel it would only have been a matter of time.


Maybe it’s all an avoidance technique to blank out the daunting tv images, or perhaps it’s just a natural reaction to enforced domesticity.


The downsides are that I can’t offer you much useful advice about local culture, except to say – go to the seafront and Common and observe all human life at play. It’s brilliant now there are no cars on the seafront: Muscle men doing weights, Instagramming girls swinging kettle balls, elderly couples holding hands, dog walkers, electric-scooter boys, kite flyers, birthday picnic groups, middle-aged men on hoverboards, ice cream stalls, coffee kiosks, fish and chips. Wild-flower patches, paddleboards, canoes, unicorn inflatables, jet skis, ferries, container ships, warships, hover crafts, sailing boats, speed boats, tugs. It’s glorious, my only dilemma on the daily walk being whether to head left to Eastney or right to the Hot Walls.


But, just in case you might be interested, here are a few crafty picks for fellow Miss Marples on things that got me through a very long time spent inside.  

The Great British Sewing Bee this amateur sewing competition lifts my spirits and inspires me to make my own clothes. I love the judges Patrick and Esme and all the contestants. 

It’s the highlight of my week, and my secret grand ambition is to enter. (iPlayer and YouTube).

Grayson Perry’s Art Club Portsmouth Art School’s very own alumni, now an established art-world darling holding court in his dusty pottery studio, nattering to all manner of amateur artists, on a mission to keep the nation’s spirits up. Each week, I contemplated sending in a daub, but always chickened out. (All4).

The Big Flower Fights I love flowers and am a Vic Reeves superfan, so this combination is intriguing. Pairs of florists compete to make “floral sculptural fantasies” on a ridiculously grand scale.  It’s bizarre but I binge-watched. (Netflix).

Money for nothing Sarah Moore, who has a workshop near Chichester, visits local dumps to retrieve faded sofas and unwanted chest of drawers. She renovates them in ingenious contemporary ways and then sells them on. Strangely addictive viewing. I need to get a tool shed and workshop to really put this into action. (iPlayer).

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

The Grapes are not withered on the vine after all

Date: August 6th, 2020

by Neil Maxwell

The announcement that estate agents could re-open on the 20th May took our industry completely by surprise. Fortunately, we had already been working on a re-opening plan and we were able go ahead with relative ease – providing a Covid-19 secure environment for our staff and visiting clients.  

We have defined a clear process for visiting clients’ houses and showing interested parties all aspects of the property, while at the same time ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Another innovation has been the creation of our ‘Virtual Valuations’, where we carry out valuations for clients who may be shielding via videophone, which has added a new, less intrusive dimension to our services.


Since re-opening the level of enquiries for sales and lettings has been overwhelming, with one letting property alone receiving over 80 enquiries, and a sales property that received 27 viewing requests. We have all worked very hard to ensure that service standards do not slip in the face of this high demand.

Pent up demand, coupled with a traditionally busy time of year for property enquiries is driving a highly active marketplace. So if you’re thinking of selling, don’t be put off by the current situation. Now could be the perfect time to sell. 


There were countless prophets of doom during the lockdown, who talked about house prices going through the floor, based upon data provided from mortgage lenders who couldn’t lend, as nothing was being sold due to the lockdown. Obviously not a very reliable barometer of what was about to happen as the market began to re-emerge from the lockdown. 


I valued a house today that had a beautiful vine which encompassed the back garden. Over the years, the plant has grown so prolifically that several of its branches have spread into five neighbouring gardens, providing a bountiful supply of grapes for all. We can only hope that the housing market enjoys the same health in months to come.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Clarion call for plastics revolution

Date: July 21st, 2020

Project leader professor Steve Fletcher.
Credit: Helen Yates


Adapted article from SOLVE magazine, the University of Portsmouth’s recently-published research magazine. See   REPORT BY BRAD COLLIS

When the first production line was conceived and installed to mass-produce pulley blocks for the Royal Navy in the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars, it placed Portsmouth at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Today, Portsmouth is leading another revolution – to change the world’s relationship with one of the twentieth century’s most pervasive technologies: plastic.

Teams of scientists, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens are being assembled by the University of Portsmouth to transform the manufacture, use and disposal of this seductively convenient but polluting material, which has generated a contamination crisis on land and at sea.

Revolution Plastics, as the initiative has been dubbed, has set out to create a new plastics economy based on improved recyclability, policy support from all tiers of government, and community engagement to achieve behavioural change in the use of plastics.


Why Portsmouth?

Portsmouth is seen as a microcosm of the technical, economic, societal and political hurdles that need to be cleared in most countries to enable changes to plastics life cycles and environmental management. 

Portsmouth has vulnerable coastal and marine environments, faces rising sea levels, is adjacent to UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve on the Isle of Wight, and has the UK’s highest urban population density outside London, with pockets of deprivation and poor health.

There is also a rising level of environmental awareness through local organisations and groups advocating sustainability, conservation and plastic waste reduction. This is the community foundation that the University intends to support and build upon. 

An extensive survey of Portsmouth residents found most people are acutely aware of plastic pollution, along with climate change and energy issues. Almost all respondents said they had made some effort already to modify their uses of plastics, such as using alternative shopping bags, refusing plastic straws and increasing their recycling. 

The survey showed most people are keen to reduce plastic waste, but they require guidance, support and, critically, assurance they will not be the ones bearing the cost.

This is where the science – chemical, industrial, economic and social – comes in, and why project leader Professor Steve Fletcher says if the Portsmouth community can revolutionise the use of plastics as part of a larger sustainability platform, then any community in the world can. “We see this being a pilot programme for the planet … an incubator for similar programmes in other cities, communities and countries,” he says. 

Only one per cent of people surveyed hold a view that individuals are powerless and therefore recycling or changing plastic use is pointless. The main barrier, for the majority of people, is knowing what to do.  

People’s knowledge of climate change and environmental pressures, such as plastic pollution, is steadily increasing. What’s missing are clear, practical answers and evidence that manufacturers, food and transport industries and governments are taking a lead.


Knowledge bank

To address this, the University will position itself as the broker, providing research support for manufacturers, users, civic administrators and consumers. Professor Fletcher, who is Director of the University’s Sustainability and the Environment research theme and an adviser to the United Nations on ocean resources, says the Revolution Plastics programme seeks to achieve a transition away from unsustainable and polluting practices to a future in which sustainable plastics manufacturing and consumption is the norm. 

All aspects of society, the economy and politics need to adapt to achieve sustainability. He explains: “Transitioning to a sustainable plastics future creates an opportunity to engage with multiple disciplines – biology, psychology, marine sciences, geosciences, fashion, food and urban design – and industry and community sectors, at different scales and intensities.”


The plastic-digesting enzyme

Revolution Plastics builds on the momentum created by the University’s globally acclaimed engineering of an enzyme that can digest some of the most commonly polluting plastics, such as plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which persists for hundreds of years in the environment.

A team of scientists worked with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to solve the crystal structure of PETase – a recently discovered enzyme that digests PET. During this study, they engineered an enzyme that is even better at degrading the plastic than the one that evolved naturally.

The ongoing research is now supported by the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, which, in partnerships with industry, will have the capacity to take on the global plastics challenge.


A collaborative approach

The University itself is already leading by example, showing what is possible through its own procurement, use and disposal of resources (materials, water, energy and services). This will work hand in glove with the formation of community and industry partnerships to transform the city into a global civic leader in sustainability.

Some of this work will connect plastics research and sustainability with the city’s identity and enmesh plastics-related projects, groups, campaigns and organisations, including schools, with university teaching and research. The University wants to work with local organisations and is planning to host events, talks and other activities so the city community can join the revolution. 

Find out more at or email

Posted in: Articles, Environment

Why the Black Lives Matter protest was so important to me

Date: July 7th, 2020

Image Credit: Charlotte Griffiths

We asked Southsea student Sienna Chin to give us her thoughts on attending the recent Black Lives Matter protest in Portsmouth, and she shared why it was such an important event for the city.

Racism isn’t just being called a racial slur. It’s being followed with a closer eye than the rest of the customers in a packed shop, it’s having your hair petted and constant comments on how exotic, outlandish, and rare it is. 

It’s the worry of losing friends over racially insensitive jokes, seeming “too sensitive” and never seeing them again. 

Or keeping those friends and knowing that they find your experiences funny but being ‘reassured’ that they would “never say the ‘n-word’ around you”. 

It’s having uncomfortable discussions with people who think your desire to be treated equally is up for debate.

After my first direct experience of racism, I guarded myself by lowering the expectations I held of my peers to stand up for their friends of colour in the face of ignorance and adversity. Social gatherings with people like these, only ever left me feeling even more alien and disheartened, and caused further damage to my own self-esteem and identity.

When I first heard about the Portsmouth and Southsea BLM protest, I felt nervous, I knew it was finally time to speak up in a place that was nothing like a classroom; a space that is inviting, encouraging, an area for sharing new ideas. It 

was the place where I had, on occasion been made to feel alienated and vulnerable: the streets of Southsea.

“Black Lives Matter” means we matter too. 

The BLM movement is a peaceful form of activism, not only about protesting against injustices, but also petitions for change, working with leaders of communities, interaction with local councillors and governing bodies, and actively challenging forms of racial prejudice inany setting, thus improving the quality of life and race relations for all. 

Black people were reported as being “over-policed and under-protected” by the Metropolitan Police in the Macpherson report (1999), and it is still incredibly relevant today. 

Within Hampshire alone, black people are 12 times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts (Crime, justice and the law, 2020). This causes black communities to feel as though the police are not on their side, and therefore creates a tense relationship in which black people are hesitant to contact them in times of need.

The Guildhall Square protest changed my entire outlook on Southsea. I was, in the best way possible, so surprised that this many people from Southsea and wider Portsmouth were present. They showed so much compassion and empathy for their black peers and the global movement. Every white protester was listening to our experiences, and are still using their own voices to educate others who struggle to empathise due to a lack of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people in their lives.

It was heartwarming to see so many familiar faces, being greeted by people I knew and receiving many supportive messages afterwards. 

I was reminded that BLM is so important, as it uplifts and inspires so many young people from BAME backgrounds and will undoubtedly make their experiences in the world, both professionally and socially, so much better.

The happiness and belonging I finally feel, after being a part of such a movement has had a huge impact on my life. I now feel free to use my voice and to feel at home in the city that I love. 

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Thoughts on COVID-19 from a Portsmouth GP

Date: July 7th, 2020


Dr P Wilson

2020 will go down in history as ‘The year of COVID-19’. For many of us, life has changed beyond all recognition. It stopped the world in its tracks, and Portsmouth was no exception. We rapidly adjusted to lockdown – staying in our homes, only leaving for essential trips. Not seeing loved ones. Missing special occasions: weddings, funerals, social gathering & holidays. Football was cancelled. ‘Furlough’ became a common word, and parents became teachers overnight. Face masks and socially distanced queues became the norm. 


As a local GP, I have experienced COVID-19 from a different perspective. I kept going to work, and my children stayed in school. As a practice, we continued to care for our patients throughout the pandemic, rapidly adjusting the way we work to limit face to face contact and keep staff and patients safe. GPs now conduct most consultations by telephone, video, or online e-consultation via the practice website. In ‘normal times’, these technological advances would have taken years to implement. Staff and patients have, on the whole, adjusted well to this new way of working. It is not always a substitute for a face to face assessment, and some patients do need to come into the surgery. We are limiting appointments, to allow for social distancing and cleaning between patients. Staff are shielded behind reception and may be wearing face masks. Patients are encouraged to wear face coverings when they come into the building. Doctors may be in surgical scrubs and will be wearing masks, aprons, gloves and possibly face shields.  We are still advising patients to avoid attending unless they have a booked appointment or cannot deal with their query online or by telephone.

There are many questions about COVID-19. I will do my best to answer some of the most common queries that are asked:

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone (over the age of five) with symptoms is eligible for COVID-19 swab testing. Symptoms include a fever over 37.8°C, a new, continuous cough or a change in taste/smell. Those with symptoms and family members should self-isolate until the result is available. To request a COVID-19 test, you can register online via and you will be contacted to book testing at the Tipner drive-through test centre. Home test kits can be sent out for those that cannot attend.

Blood antibody tests for COVID-19 can give an indication of past infection with the virus, but are not yet available to the general population. It is not yet clear how reliable these tests are, and whether the antibodies offer protection against future re-infection

Will there be a vaccine for COVID-19? 

Several research institutions are busy developing and trialling a vaccine. Oxford University is currently recruiting volunteers nationwide for their study. The trial is designed to establish if the vaccine triggers an antibody response that protects an individual against contracting COVID-19.  

What is the ‘R’ Number? 

The Reproduction (R) number is a way of  measuring the spread of the virus. If the R number is kept below one, then each infected individual is, on average, spreading the virus to less than one person. This should ultimately lead to the disappearance of the virus. The R number published on June 12th was 0.8-1 in the South East of England and under 1 across the UK. There are also falling rates of new infections, hospital admissions and deaths.  The Government is basing many of its decisions on easing lockdown restrictions on the R number.

How likely is a ‘second wave’?

No one can be sure, since this is a new virus. It is very different to the influenza virus, a cause of previous pandemics in history, so scientists cannot predict how COVID-19 will behave. There have been small increases in the number of cases in China, Iran, and South Korea, but so far in Europe, the numbers of people infected has continued to fall, despite restrictions being eased. For now, the advice is to continue to work from home if you can, wear face masks on public transport and in enclosed spaces, and maintain social distancing.

How can I work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The government has produced 8 guides covering a range of different types of work. These are available on the GOV.UK website. Further guidance will be published as more businesses re-open.

I love being a GP, and feel it is a privilege to do the job that I do. The public has shown such gratitude to the NHS, and I hope the respect shown will continue once the pandemic passes. I am grateful for the amazing team at TMGP, which has pulled together to continue to deliver excellent care for our Southsea patients during such a challenging time. We hope that some of the innovative new ways of working can continue, complementing the traditional way that we deliver patient care. 

Dr Penny Wilson is a GP Partner at Trafalgar Medical Group Practice.

She lives locally with her husband and two daughters.

Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

Celebrating and educating – BLM Movement

Date: July 7th, 2020

Image of Charlotte Griffiths, taken by Hannah Smith, Edited by Charlotte Griffiths

The photographer and marketing consultant, Charlotte Griffiths, took Sienna’s photo – “Why the Black Lives Matter protest was so important to me” article 

Charlotte talks about her reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement and some of her experiences

The BLM movement has given me a voice, because until now, I couldn’t find the words, or feel confident enough to speak about how I feel. 

Racism comes in many different forms and it is something I have experienced at different stages of my life as a child and teen growing up in Waterlooville. And later as an adult, on my own doorstep in Southsea at the time of the referendum, “vote UKIP” was shouted at me from a van window as it drove past. Then a while ago, in front of my eldest child someone shouted a racially offensive word as they cycled away… “mummy, what did they say…?”. 

The day my daughter, at 5 years old, told me she wanted lighter skin, made me so, so sad. I don’t know exactly what happened at school that day, but she came home wanting to be like other children in her class. At 10 years old she is very aware of race, equality and diversity. She is fascinated in learning about black history and was delighted to discover she shares her first name with Harriet Tubman, the former slave and American abolitionist. 

Racism is not new, it has always been with us, and will be until we continue to educate and unite. No judgement, no hate. Pure love.

As a photographer, I feel privileged to announce a photography project with women of colour from Portsmouth that will take place in July. 

If you are interested in taking part email 

Together we will celebrate and educate.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Turn a crisis into an opportunity

Date: July 7th, 2020

Image credit: Team Locals Media

Over the past few weeks and months, many of us have been enjoying our turquoise seas, clean air, and quieter streets. We have been pleased at how quickly the homeless have been found accommodation and our community has worked tirelessly to protect the vulnerable. Have we witnessed a fleeting moment in our history, or do we now begin to seriously tackle climate change and the deep-seated inequalities in our society? How will we work in future and how can we best support local businesses. We asked leaders in various sectors to share their hopes and thoughts on how Portsmouth & Southsea might TURN A CRISIS INTO AN OPPORTUNITY…

Alistair Bell: Chairman of Bell Microsystems

Along with most business colleagues I speak with, I believe it has taken this crisis to make us appreciate the value of our lives; the value we can tangibly place on health, work-life balance, family, time and our location.

Recent evidence has shown that the time previously taken in travelling to meetings, using airports or trains, can now be used more efficiently by conducting meetings on Zoom or Teams. We no longer have to deal with the logistics of getting five people with different diaries into the same room. 

Many of us are no longer taking our health or the infrastructure to support it for granted, the change in circumstances allowing us time to walk instead of using a car bringing obvious benefits. 

How can Portsmouth benefit from the changes that are evident after the three months forced imposition on our working lives? 

We live in a wonderful city; the coast is magnificent. We need to appreciate what we have.

Moving forward, our intention is to vastly reduce our London office space and we have drawn up a rota for office departments to be in on different days, with provisions made for lunch or evening drinks so that the departments can spend time together. 

As daily commuting is no longer a necessity, resulting effectively in a shorter working day, we can use this extra time and money otherwise spent in other cities’ restaurants to support our great local restaurants. The entertainment and hospitality sectors have been particularly hard hit, and we can help them restore their business.

Lastly, Portsmouth should position itself as a new Solent hub for business to operate in a technology-enabled environment, a greater degree of communication fuelled by connectivity should be encouraged.


Andrew Griffiths: leadership specialist & partner at Strengths Unleashed 

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”. Albert Einstein. Emerging from this crisis with energy and renewed optimism will require a different mindset. I believe passionately that our famous city can not only adjust to the ‘near normal’, but take on some of the big challenges we face to create a sustainable and vibrant city fit for the future. My leadership role brings me into contact with some of the world’s most innovative and original thinkers at Stanford University. It is incredibly exciting to be part of a team that is discovering the future for organisations, solving current problems and finding the next challenge.

We can do this in Portsmouth by thinking bold ideas with no limits on what we can achieve. If we can bring together people who represent every aspect of our city and work with creative confidence, we can build a sustainable future which everyone can be proud of. The exciting part of this is that everyone has a role to play, this is putting the community at the heart of our city, leveraging local people’s thoughts and ideas to reimagine the future. Leaders in successful organisations believe two things: ‘The future can be better than the present’, and ‘We have the power to make it so’…. I know Portsmouth can rise to this challenge. 


Finola Sloyan: PR consultant 

It only took a couple of months for the coronavirus to change our lives; it’s doubtful we’ll ever return to a pre-COVID-19 world. Two innovative ideas providing solutions for the here and now caught my attention:  

1. Pay it forward: consider paying forward for a service we are going to need in the future, thus helping small businesses to continue operating.

2. Redefining jobs: It’s not just changing where we work, it’s also fundamentally altering what work is done and how we do it – shifting work, talent, and skills to where they are needed most. We’ve seen this with distillers pivoting from making spirits to anti-bacterial hand gel, fashion houses making surgical masks and gowns, finding solutions during uncertainty. 

This can be a time of creativity for Portsmouth, with reimagining jobs around the constraints of today’s challenging business environment. 

It’s important for businesses to keep the lines of communication open, regardless of the situation. When a Southsea restaurant adapted to the pandemic by offering a delivery service, I was happy to support it and also appreciated the message of thanks for my support – this goes a long way. When instructors from our local gym found themselves without any source of income, we immediately signed up for virtual classes. As a community, we appreciate these services and the people giving them. Finally, World Environment Day was on 5th June: “these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: To care for ourselves we must care for nature. It’s time to wake up, take notice, to raise our voices and to build back better for People and Planet.”


XR Portsmouth: environmentalists

During lockdown, nature has had a chance to restore itself – cleaner skies, clearer coastal waters, and more audible birdsong. The change in “business as usual” attitudes and the benefits for our ecosystems have been monumental. We have discovered new ways to shop, live, and entertain ourselves that put nature at less risk. This pandemic has taught us the importance of slowing down and being mindful in valuing the small things and our relationships with those around us. 

We must extend this care and compassion to nature in Portsmouth, and all of our neighbours to build real societal change. The time for action is now. We have had enough and we say: no going back to our destructive way of life.

We advocate: Segregated cycle lanes encouraging safe commutes for both cyclists and pedestrians.

An increase in on-street secure bicycle parking & storage.

Education and information about environmentally friendly commuter options.

A commitment to a reduction in dangerous pollutants such as CO2, NOx and others.

Establishing a Citizens’ Assembly so that voices all across Portsmouth are heard. XR Portsmouth is committed to working with the council to achieve this.

Developing a closer relationship with the other environmental groups in Portsmouth and the wider community. We believe this is how we make this recovery a success. XR is a peaceful and passionate movement trying to protect planet A: Because as you’ve probably heard – there’s no planet B: Let’s move forwards to a better future, for us, our children, and our planet.


Joanna Bushnell: Director of Aspex Gallery

I think it’s safe to say the world, the city, the environment in which I work, will never be the same again, and nor should it. It would be a shame to go back to things the way they were pre-Covid-19, before the recent Black Lives Matter protests, ignoring the positive impact that staying home has had on the environment.

At Aspex we’ve been taking stock. After the initial shock of closing the gallery and all going home to continue working, we’ve started to consider how we can work differently. We are looking to make our work accessible to more people, by taking it into the public realm, or delivering it online. Later this summer, prior to reopening the gallery, we are going to launch a new project which we hope people, particularly teenagers and young adults can get behind and engage with, but it’s a little too soon for announcements just yet!

We are determined that concerns around diversity, access, and the environment don’t get sidelined while we turn our focus to the economic imperative, reviewing our business model and survival. It’s time to slow down, think and proceed in a more inclusive, sustainable and accessible way – to improve social justice. We are optimistic!


Stef Nienaltowski: CEO of Shaping Portsmouth

I am delighted to have been asked to lead a group of talented and focussed leaders from across the city through Shaping Portsmouth’s Future Together, a new action group of key organisations in the city to help Portsmouth recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Each of us is totally committed to providing all the necessary help and support to enable our city recover from this crisis as quickly as possible. By joining forces we will avoid duplication, share knowledge, and better inform businesses and organisations of the help and support available to aid recovery. We want the city of Portsmouth to thrive in the future to the benefit of the whole community. The group aims to co-ordinate support, advice and funding, identify any skills shortages, and high-light opportunities to businesses, education providers, and the community. This spirit of collaboration, will use the goodwill in the city as a catalyst for economic – and by extension, community – recovery. It is made up of representatives from Shaping Portsmouth, Portsmouth City Council (including Deputy Leader Cllr. Steve Pitt), The News, Hampshire County Council, The Hive Portsmouth, Pompey in the Community, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, University of Portsmouth, Solent NHS, city care providers, Portsmouth Creates and Job Centre +.

Posted in: Articles, Environment, Local & Community

Welcome Home

Date: July 7th, 2020


If lockdown has taught us all one thing, it is the importance of the place we call home. Kate Thompson talks to Una Allan.

After more than 20 years living in their family home, Una and Bill Allan took the big decision to remodel their much-loved abode.

Just when most empty nesters would be thinking about down-sizing, the adventurous couple decided to make the most of their bricks and mortar.

And having just been through the lockdown, Una is delighted they made the decision to update what they had, rather than move.

“The weather during the lockdown was so nice, it was a pleasure to open the doors wide and look out over our south-facing garden,” she said.

“We overlook a woodland area but before we did the work, you couldn’t see it from the kitchen because the windows were too high.”

After two decades in their Waterlooville home, bringing up their two children, the house was starting to look a little tired around the edges and in need of some TLC.

“The kitchen cupboards were falling off, the lock on the patio doors was broken and windows and doors needed replacing. We decided rather than fiddling around with repairs, we should bite the bullet and really make the most of what we have got.

“In the original layout, we had a family room next to the kitchen and a separate lounge. It was ridiculous that we used to find ourselves in the small family room because it was linked to the kitchen and we never used the lounge. It was such a waste,” said Una.

To help turn their ideas into a reality they enlisted the services of Joe Moser from the Design Team Studios.

“He got what we wanted to do straight away and I felt I could work with him, “ said Una. 

Joe explained: “The brief for this project was to create a large, open-plan space for family living and entertaining.

“The property sits on a steeply sloping site which required careful design consideration.

“A full-width single-storey extension with sliding aluminium doors was added at the rear, with walk-on roof lights facilitating the addition of a first floor terrace and throwing extra light into the new spaces.

“The centrally placed kitchen became the hub of the home, with easy access to the existing utility room and exposed brick elements provided texture to the modern decor.”

Clearly delighted with the transformation of her home, Una said she loves how light and airy her home now feels and the fact they can fully appreciate the stunning views.

“It has given a new lease of life to our home which was stuck in the 80s. The space just works so well now,” said Una.

Pride of place in the dining area goes to a striking piece of artwork by Southsea based street artist My Dog Sighs.

“I won the chance to commission My Dog Sighs when he auctioned off the opportunity to have a mural created in your home. He did it to raise money for his friend Samo who was having reconstruction surgery.

“I’ve always been a big fan of his work and the image fits in so perfectly with the house as it is now,” she said.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden


Date: May 19th, 2020

Deborah Dodsworth

Portsmouth based artists and photographers are taking part in a national charity auction to raise funds for FareShare UK Taking place online at The Swan at Tetsworth JUNE 5 TH

The Swan at Tetsworth has collaborated with a number of world-class artists and photographers as well as a few rising stars from around the country in order to raise funds for the charitable organisation Fareshare.

FARESHARE supplies food to over 10,000 charities nationwide, providing in-date surplus food to the most vulnerable members of our communities. Tackling both food waste and food poverty. Helping and supporting homeless hostels, children’s breakfast clubs, lunch clubs for older people, domestic violence refugees and many, many more.  As the Coronavirus takes it toll FARESHARE is very much in need of our help. We are asking you to dig deep and bid for a piece of artwork that has been generously donated.  100% of all proceeds will go to this charity. 

Portsmouth artists
Deborah Dodsworth
David Tuckwell
The Five Architects
Howard Hurd
Kevin Dean

Artists across the UK include

Peter Mammes
Louise Bennett
Dawn Fincham
Hitesh Ambasna
Jane Palm-Gold
Jules Sykes
Mark Wilkinson
Gavin Jay
Gaye Black
Joni Belaruski
Rosie Parmley
Sarah Geddes
Mike Screen

More to follow…

For the carousel
 #FareShareArtAuction  JUNE 5th 2020 –

The Swan is holding a charity art auction to raise funds for Fareshare UK




Howard Hurd


David Tuckwell


Kevin Dean RCA


Louise bennet


Hitesh Ambasna




Gaye Black


Gavin Jay


Fatma Keeley

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Home alone, or in a busy household – we all need a little empathy 

Date: May 18th, 2020


Although our homes have always been considered to be a form of sanctuary from the rest of the world, over the past few weeks they have also become a place of safety and for many people, a place of work, a place to educate children, or a place to self -isolate. We know about the importance of diet, exercise and mental health during the current lockdown, terms that have almost become watch words of this crisis, along with new terminology, such as social distancing or furloughing workers… So, I didn’t want to write about health and wellbeing, to list immune boosting foods, or the benefits of watching nature – all of which I’d recommend by the way, but these are familiar themes for writers of Sunday supplements, or purveyors of health food products. 

Instead, I want to highlight the importance of empathy, an emotion that is so often overlooked. I believe we need the thread of empathy in our lives to sustain mental, emotional and physical wellness. Why? Because, emotionally intelligent people seek, deep down, to understand others and themselves, it’s simply intrinsic to our makeup. Empathy stimulates chemicals in our brain, which can settle a troubled mind and even resolve long term emotional problems. Empathy is, I think, a good all – rounder to benefit your mental and physical wellbeing, especially at this time. 

The current crisis has in many ways helped us to reassess ourselves and our relationship with others. Two examples immediately come to mind – Captain Tom Moore, who from the simple act of walking laps of his garden, created empathy with some 1.5 million people and raised over £30 million for the NHS. Or the Thursday night clapping, which has become both a way of thanking our key workers, but also as a way of connecting with our neighbours and showing empathy. 

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but whether your home is part of a noisy household or you live alone, your home needs to have a healthy heart and soul, and to form the backdrop for self-compassion and empathy. We must learn to reach out and express ourselves when in need, to understand ourselves and others. Empathy can act as quiet medicine, a remedy for personal frustrations, upsets with others, or to settle a whole range of uncomfortable emotions. 

A happy household is an understanding household. 

Be it home alone – your understanding will be in the form of self-compassion and empathy, which will hopefully help you and others gain healthy perspectives. 

For a busy household, full of tasks and noise – simply remembering how powerful understanding can, (or might be), between you and the household. Empathy can help you regulate your emotions and if you step back, you can come back fresher and more able to deal with a difficult situation. 

And there are other benefits, such as humour and warmth, to you, neighbors and your home, along with more joy in everyday tasks – with, or without a lockdown.  

By Claire Harris is a complementary therapist, who lives and works in Southsea 

Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

Delivering hot meals to vulnerable residents from The Duke

Date: May 13th, 2020

Words and drawings by Kevin Dean

Two days before the official Covid-19 lockdown, Fiona and Andrew Harvey, along with their daughter Charlotte, of the Duke of Buckingham pub, in Old Portsmouth, began preparing food for the elderly and vulnerable. ‘We knew we’d have to close the pub, but we wanted to find a way of staying open by providing, top quality, affordable meals, delivered safely to people who were isolated at home, or in sheltered accommodation, explained Fiona.

Eight weeks later and with the help of 26 volunteers, the pub has prepared over 6,500 hot meals for people all over the city, plus free meals for the Lifehouse, a support centre for the homeless and people with addictions.

Fiona Harvey of The Duke of Buckingham, who started the operation, along with her husband Andrew and daughter Charlotte

At £5.50 for a hot meal and a desert, or for 3 days £16.50 and £30 for 7 days, the pub doesn’t make money from the operation, ‘we just about cover our costs, but we all get a huge satisfaction from knowing we are meeting the needs of so many people who may not otherwise get a regular hot meal’, said Fiona.

Toto and John cooking in the kitchen

The pub’s chairs and tables have been piled high and the saloon bar has been turned into a communications centre. Marion, takes calls from new and regular customers, placing their orders from a menu that changes weekly, with both meat and vegetarian options. Thursday night offers Italian dishes, while on Friday its fish and chips, steak night on Saturdays, along with a traditional roast on Sundays.

Marion takes food orders by phone

Ian checks the paperwork at one of the preparation tables – infront of the bar

With the orders taken, the kitchen busily cooks and packs the meals into individual recyclable containers, which are in turn packed into sealed bags and placed into insulated boxes ready for delivery by van, often by Steve and Julia. Residents who live nearby are delivered to on foot, by other volunteers, including Penny, Zack and Mark, all dressed in gloves, masks and visors. ‘We leave the food on people’s doorsteps or in foyers and keep a safe distance when residents open their doors explained Matt, ‘very often we are the only human contact our customers have, so we might have a chat before we go.’

Julia, packs the meals into insulated boxes ready for delivery

Zack, delivering meals to the door

With the lockdown restrictions being gradually eased how long does the Duke of Buckingham plan to continue their work? ‘We think vulnerable people are going to have to stay in their homes for sometime to come, we will be here for them as long as we are needed’ said Fiona.
If you, or someone you know is considered to be vulnerable to the Covid 19 virus, just call: 023 9229 4491 or

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Southsea songbird harnesses technology to keep singing

Date: May 7th, 2020

While many people during the lockdown have been getting to grips with Zoom calls for business meetings or to keep in touch with loved ones, Janet Ayers has harnessed the technology to hit just the right note. 

Well known as a performer with the popular beat combo, the Dave Baker Project as well as Hudson and Lestrade, her Victorian alter ego, pairing with musician husband Matt, Janet runs the Southsea Community Choir. 

Janet has also been serenading her neighbours with her rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, just before the clapping begins on Thursday evenings. 

Since she first started performing as a musician and singer, Janet has always enjoyed the collaborative creativity of performing in a group and she did not want to lose the wonderful vibe that has developed in the choir since it was formed 12 years ago.

Janet explained: “Zoom is designed for meetings with one person speaking at a time, which isn’t how a choir works. The technology means it sees sustained sound as interference and it can’t process all the data so sounds come back very slow.

“So initially, we just used Zoom as a social thing so we could keep connected. But through listening to the experiences of friends within the Natural Voice Network, I discovered there might be a way to make it work.”

Having updated her phone so she could have an acapella app, she was able to record an audio track to play on the Zoom call and by muting the participants, choir members can sing along with Janet.

“We had 23 people on the call this week and the feedback has been great. There are amazing possibilities if you use the technology in a creative way,” said Janet.

Singing and performing has been part of Janet’s life from an early age. Growing up in London, she began playing the violin at school and was soon performing in the school orchestra.

“It was free to play a musical instrument at school and there was Saturday morning music school from the age of nine to 18. I loved music lessons and loved playing with a group.

“I was never very keen on practising on my own, I was much more tuned into what can be created in a group rather than the technical side of music,” she said.

Back in February, Janet led a session for the Women’s Refugee Support Group in Portsmouth, She took along a djembe drum and encouraged the women to sing, dance and drum.

“We were in quite a cramped space so the planned circle dance became everyone making up their own dances – it was hilarious.

“The organisers asked me to do it again in the lockdown. Using Zoom I was able to do call and response signing and we were all dancing and having a wonderful time.

“One woman who was caught in the lockdown in London, joined us from her stationery car.

“Whereas before we used to say can you make this date and time in this particular room? Now with Zoom we are saying, we can come to you.

“Without the technology, it would have been quite depressing but we have been able to adapt and be together in a different way,” said Janet.


Listen to Janet sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’


Interview by contributor Kate Thompson

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

How is Covid-19 affecting the housing market?

Date: May 6th, 2020

Illustration Kevin Dean

The housing market often suffers whenever the economy is under pressure. We asked Neil Maxwell of Fry & Kent for his observations of the local property market, both now, and in future months. Plus Chris Holden of At Pace mortgages, talks about the chances of getting a mortgage during the current crisis – and how long those mortgage holidays might last?

The housing market by Neil Maxwell

A regular question I’m asked at the moment is what’s the state of the housing market? Irresponsible media appearances, by so-called housing market experts, have been infuriating. Recently, a pundit stated that sales are down by 85% but failed to mention the fact that all estate agents have been told not to carry out any viewings. The truth is, unlike 2008 and the great financial crash, when the market just simply stopped, we have a large and growing number of clients waiting to view properties once conditions allow. We are not seeing large numbers of clients withdrawing from transactions already in progress, in fact, we have agreed on several sales from pre-lockdown viewings and one from a video tour.

As a business, we watched intently the unfolding pandemic in China and with the first cases of Covid-19 being reported in Europe, we acted swiftly to prepare ourselves to operate remotely, with colleagues working from home two weeks before the official lockdown. I have been to work most mornings to give keys to contractors carrying out essential maintenance for our rental portfolio. Being alone in an office that is normally so vibrant and full of life has been strange, but it’s been reassuring to see passing pedestrians taking an interest in the properties advertised in the window. With so many people at home, our activity reports from On the Market and Rightmove show an unbelievable level of traffic. The number of email enquiries we are receiving has shown a marked increase and we are keeping our viewing waiting lists updated – ready for the day we are able to conduct viewings once again.

Being a child of the Seventies I remember a time when everyone greeted each other as they passed by, it’s been a delight to see a return of this habit as I take my walks along the seafront, although sadly I don’t think we will be shaking hands again for a long time. And although many people isolated at home are complaining they need a haircut, I don’t think my hair is going to grow back anytime soon!

March was the Fiftieth anniversary of Bill and Rosemary Fry opening the doors of Fry & Kent Estate Agents and we are looking forward to the day we can open them again and welcome our customers back to our offices. May I wish you all health and inner calm to help us all persevere with these uncertain times.


Mortgages by Chris Holden

Six weeks that have changed the world, will it ever be the same again?  Is the economy going to do a V, a U, or an X,Y, Z – we really don’t know. But when it comes to mortgages and house moving – one of the biggest cogs in our modern economy, I think we will get back to some sort of normality fairly quickly.

In the first few days after lockdown, lenders scrambled to withdraw products from the market and cancel valuations.  Many estate agents shut up shop with staff furloughed and solicitors struggled to work from home, especially as many of them still depend on paper-based files, rather than on-line systems.

We are now, however, starting to see signs that the industry is adapting.  As of today, whilst less than a handful of Lenders will offer a 90%  loan to value, mortgage, there are plenty offering support at 85% for re-mortgages and purchases.  Valuations are being done remotely – using systems which compare information from websites like Zoopla and RightMove – or, if a valuer does need to visit, they will ensure this is done with masks and gloves being worn and social distancing respected.

In the longer term what will be harder to assess is the impact on the housing market with an inevitable increase in unemployment and a possible recession.  We are a nation where more people work in the service industries than manufacturing and it is these jobs which will be hardest hit – there will be fewer shops, fewer pubs, fewer restaurants and fewer people visiting them.  This will impact both house prices and rental income.  By how much, it is too early to say, or even have an educated guess.

All that said, there are reasons to be optimistic.  Borrowing money has never been cheaper – fixed-rate mortgages are, and will remain, available at less than 1.5%.  Southsea remains a popular place to live, with the renovations of both the old Knight and Lee and Debenhams buildings likely to give the town a further boost in the next few years.  And people are adjusting to the ‘new normal’ – as a broker, I have had more enquiries about house purchases and re-mortgages in the last two weeks than I had in the previous month, as people start to see some cause for optimism.

There will be issues to overcome – how will Lenders consider missed payments during the pandemic?  Will they discount, or offer further mortgage holidays once people have resumed work in some capacity?  How will the self-employed be treated if 2020 accounts are significantly worse than previous years?  All these questions will need to be answered as the year progresses, but I’m sure lenders will be sympathetic to borrowers circumstances.

I suspect the summer – assuming we have no second wave of infections – will see a surge in activity as a business that has been delayed, begins to take place.  After that, we will have to wait and see what the long- term impact might make on our house prices and monthly rent. What hasn’t changed is that we remain a small city, on a beautiful small island and we all have to have somewhere to live.

Posted in: Articles, Business, Home & Garden

Supporting Local Businesses During Lockdown

Date: May 1st, 2020


We’re all adjusting to this strange new lifestyle that has been sprung upon us, as a result of COVID-19. Some of the people most impacted are local small business owners.

However, the lockdown doesn’t need to stop us all from supporting our local small businesses wherever we can and to shop small again, order food deliveries and stay home as much as possible. Who needs a supermarket when Portsmouth has so many businesses that can deliver directly to your home?

So, the question is – what can we, as a community, do to help support our valuable small businesses during this lockdown period?

Food Takeaways

Many of Portsmouth & Southsea’s most popular restaurants have started takeaway services, offering contactless deliveries directly to your doorstep. So, a brilliant way of supporting some of our small businesses is by ordering in – and at the same time, you can treat yourself to a much-needed takeaway! 

Grocery Deliveries

A few businesses have started offering grocery deliveries in and around Southsea, with plenty of choices on offer, all at a budget-friendly price. Whether you’re struggling to get the basics like eggs, flour, butter and pasta, or you’re running low on veg and meat, there is a service to suit you – delivered contactless to your door.


Online Shopping

There are plenty of Southsea-grown businesses who have physical presences on the streets of Portsmouth; however, with the current crisis, the majority of these businesses have moved their trading online. Ranging from beauty to clothing, groceries and ready-made sweet treats, there are plenty of ways you can support these local businesses while we are unable to visit them in person.

Social Media

It’s an obvious one – but also one of the most powerful ways you can support local small businesses during lockdown! Many small businesses rely heavily on social media for their marketing and brand awareness – it’s a great form of free advertising and promotion of their new products or current operations. If you’re already a customer of a local business, show them a little love across social media by sharing photos of the products that you have purchased. If you aren’t already a customer but still want to show your support, simply liking, commenting and sharing social posts can have a huge impact, and means a lot to business owners.


Gift Vouchers

As we are unable to visit many small businesses during this lockdown period, many have started offering gift vouchers as a way to earn a small amount of income while business may have slowed. Whether it’s a gift voucher for a spa treatment in the future, a voucher for some online shopping, or a voucher to use at your favourite independent restaurant in the future, gift vouchers can be a great way to show some support – while also giving yourself or a loved one something to look forward to when this is all over.

We’d love to know how you have been supporting local small businesses during lockdown – let us know!


Written by contributor and local blogger Kat Got Your Tongue

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Posted in: Articles, Business, Local & Community

Portsmouth City Council Updates

Date: April 30th, 2020

Miguel Blasco Martin

With the extension to the lockdown, it has become apparent that our professional and personal lives will remain in a state of flux and uncertainty for some time to come. With so much changing every day and week by week, we wanted to keep in regular touch with you to share more information and news pertinent to our sector, which we hope you will find useful.

Last week, we provided you with links to websites offering information on funding and grants as well as platforms that offer practical advice to both businesses and individuals. In this edition, we have an update on grant payments from Portsmouth City Council as well as where to find additional information on business support. The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now live, so we have included that link too.

To stay up to date with U.K. Government advice on coronavirus, visit the GOV.UK Website.

We have trawled the Internet to find more links that provide information and support across the creative and sports industries and have collated these for your interest. We have also included the links to the main industry body websites again as they are regularly updated with the latest news and advice.

Many of our revenue organisations have been working hard to provide entertainment for their audiences whilst they remain closed and you can read about these in this newsletter, as well as an update on the content our own services are producing for information and entertainment. Also in this section, we have provided links to online platforms providing a wealth of free creative and entertaining resources – we hope you find something to enjoy amongst all of these!

VE Day, on the 8th May, is now less than a month away, and whilst we can’t have the commemorations and street parties we’d all hoped for, we will still be marking the day; in this newsletter you can read what we are planning and how to get involved. As we get closer to the day we will provide further details on what will be happening locally, and nationally.

Lastly, mental health and wellbeing is of paramount importance as we come to terms living in this unnatural environment so we have signposted a number websites, which provide guidance and support should you need it.

Government Aid

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Job Retention Scheme

Update on Grant Payments from Portsmouth City Council small business grant fund or retail, hospitality and leisure grant

If you have already applied for the small business grant fund or retail, hospitality and leisure grant,we have now started making payments. We have a lot of applications and are working through them as quickly as possible. Like most other local authorities, we have a national software provider and we had to work with them to make the necessary changes to our IT systems before payments could be made.Payments are being made by BAC’s and cheque.


Businesses within the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors will get 100% discount on business rates for 2020/21 regardless of the size of the business.

Additional information regarding business support can be found on you will also be able to subscribe to the Business Update
newsletter from Portsmouth City Council.page2image15208

You can also call the Portsmouth City Council Business help line on 023 9284 1641 (open 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday)

The HIVE, Portsmouth

The HIVE have been working extremely hard to support our most vulnerable residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of April 15th 2020, 2,354 individuals have registered for support across the city, 741 of which have indicated they do not have anyone to help them with essential supplies.

Food distribution is continuing, being delivered to and stored at Portsmouth Football Club and managed by Pompey in the Community. In the last week, 196 food parcels have been delivered by Pompey in the Community, 91 by Portsmouth Salvation Army, 122 by Age UK Portsmouth and 268 by the Government.

The HIVE are also offering a Prescription Support Service and carrying out welfare checks regularly.

If you are struggling financially or emotionally during the pandemic, please contact the appropriate Helpline listed below, open 9am-5pm Monday – Friday: PO1 – PO6 postcodes: 023 9261 6709. Residents in other PO postcodes: 0333 370 4000

If you would like to volunteer or donate to The HIVE, visit the HIVE, Volunteering and Donating Page.

Support for Creative Industries and Sport

Creative Industries Federation

Have specific guidance relating to those working within the creative sector. This includes legal advice, public health advice, mental health advice and helping with working from home.


Independent Arts Projects

Support and Advice for Arts workers during coronavirus.


Heritage Emergency Fund

A fund set up by the Heritage Fund available for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus crisis to continue delivering projects or to stabilise operations.


The COVID-19 Alphabet

Provides many links to help cultural organisations access financial support such as grants, rates relief and job retention schemes.


Visit Britain

Latest tourism-related news and information for UK tourism businesses on the outbreak of COVID-19, this includes useful links to information and advice.


Artists and Freelancers


Runs a free one-to-one advisory service for those working in the performance industry.

Arts Council England

Providing support for people working as artists, freelancers and in publicly funded cultural organisations.

Freelance Artist Resources List

A document containing a collection of links to resources to help freelance creatives and artists during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Theatre, Film and TV

The Royal Variety Charity

The Royal Variety Charity is uniquely positioned to provide financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry, should they find themselves experiencing unforeseen financial hardship as a result of ill-health.

Equity Charitable Trust

They provide welfare grants to actors who find themselves in a difficult financial position, theatres who are struggling and those who have had a change of circumstance or would like debt or benefits advice.

Film and TV Charity

They have a 24/7 support line which is free to use and confidential. There is also a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund providing one-off grants from £500 to £2,500 to active workers in film, TV and cinema that are not eligible for SEISS. They also have a Repayable Grant Scheme for self-employed film, TV and cinema workers who are eligible for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Actors Benevolent Fund

A fund for actors who are in need due to illness, injury or old age.

The Royal Theatrical Fund

Provides support to those who work or have worked professionally in the entertainment industry for seven years or more. Along with the fund, they provide advice and emotional support.

Music Industry

The Royal Society of Musicians

The Royal Society of Musicians have collaborated with Help Musicians UK to release £500,000 to musicians affected by coronavirus.

Musicians Union

The Musicians Union are posting regular updates detailing which grants are available to musicians and individuals in the music industry.


Dance Professionals Fund

Providing grants for dancers due to illness or injury, supporting everyday living costs or crisis funding. They provide confidential advice and financial support tailored to the individual.

One Dance UK

Providing advice for dancers on managing their business and finances during COVID-19. They are also regularly updating with new schemes and grants available for dancers.

Sports and Leisure


Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Providing grants of between £300 and £10,000 to sports clubs and voluntary/community organisations that deliver or enable sport or physical activity. To learn more about the fund, click how we can help


Portsmouth City Council’s Revenue Funded Organisations

Aspex Gallery

Aspex Gallery are working hard to keep communities engaged from home. ‘Aspex at Home’ is still providing MiniMakers and Family Saturdays online; you can access these on the Aspex Gallery Facebook page. The dementia group is still being supported with contact via phone calls and delivery of art material packs and online tutoring.

There is also an Arts Award online for young people aged five and above. This will enable them to gain an award as well as a completed personal portfolio and certificate. To find out more, click aspex arts award.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

BSO have been very active on their Facebook Page with posted links to audiobooks, podcasts, music suggestions and articles.

This week saw the launch of a new BSO@Home magazine programme with a regular Wednesday night 7.30pm new release video of chats, insights and musical delights. Additionally, a new special video is going live at 5pm on 23rd April with the BSO Voices community choir and others who have recorded a special version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow to bring joy and thanks to key workers across the South Coast.

The Kings Theatre have been regularly updating audiences through their mailing lists, keeping people up-to-date with shows and news, which you can subscribe to here. They have also been hosting live streams on their Facebook Page, answering your questions about the theatre.

New Theatre Royal

NTR have been sharing links on their Facebook Page to online performances such as pantomimes and dance workshops with lots of entertainment to keep little ones busy! They are also promoting the National Theatre at Home each week with links taking you to performances.

Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall are keeping people updated via blogposts on their website. As well as this, they have been hosting musicians on their Facebook Page for live streams.

Peter Ashley Activities Centre

The PAAC have been posting ‘Fort Facts’ on their Facebook Page with throwback images and information about the forts and their history. As well as this, they have been snapping the wildlife in and around the forts.

Culture and Leisure Service Update

Our staff continue to work behind the scenes to bring the city, museums and services into people’s homes; below is a snapshot of what you can currently enjoy in the virtual world.

If you haven’t done so yet, head to Visit Portsmouth to take a virtual tour of Portsmouth. As people are unable to visit Portsmouth in person whilst the UK is in lockdown, this enables people to take in the sights from their sofa!

Portsmouth Museum have announced their upcoming exhibition ‘Portsmouth Revisited II’. To introduce this they have uploaded a detailed video on their YouTube channel. They are also active on Facebook, posting facts and information from the museum.

The Conan Doyle Collection is available on the Visit Portsmouth website. This exhibition has proved to be extremely popular and you can view artefacts, stories and more on the website.

Portsmouth Libraries staff have been busy assisting local residents to access a range of resources due to the library closures. The Facebook page has been the focal point for accessing information and entertainment. The team have also been working closely with Corporate Communications on sharing information via mailing lists. This has extended the library reach beyond existing library members. There are also free audio books, music and craft activities available via links from their Facebook page.

The latest edition of Libraries Make A Difference details library activity from January to March.

National and International Projects

Damien Hirst Rainbow Artwork

The artist Damien Hirst has created a new rainbow art work to show support for the NHS in the current coronavirus crisis. The work is titles ‘Butterfly Rainbow’ and is made up of band of coloured butterfly wings.

You can download the image here, which can be used in a variety of ways such as printed and placed in the window to show your support, saved as a screensaver or used as a poster!

BBC Culture in Quarantine

The BBC have compiled a hundreds of videos and tasks to keep any age busy. The list consists of theatre productions, music performances, visual arts, dance, cinema, games and creative activities to do at home.

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

Google Arts and Culture has partnered with more than 500 cultural institutions to offer virtual museum exploration, following the temporary closure of thousands of museums. The ALVA has provided an insight into the benefits of online exploration.

Online Poetry

Access online poetry readings, workshops and shows. These are both in video and audio format with live events too. Explore different genres for all ages.

Chatter Pack

There are links to free, online, boredom-busting resources. This contains virtual tours and live webcams, online learning, geography, nature, history, music, literature online and arts.

The Online Art Show

The Online Art Show is a platform displaying art from a range of artists, which is also available to buy. Gilbert and George have also put together a range of ‘lockdown posters’ also available on the site.

Get Creative 2020

A campaign that shines a light on all the great cultural activity that takes place on a regular basis in local communities. There is a link to their Activities page to start getting creative at home.


Artsy is a platform which is continuing to support artists and galleries through online fairs, benefit auctions and collections.


The TV show, Taskmaster are producing home tasks on their YouTube channel. These challenges are family-friendly and not as easy as they seem…

CNN Digital Libraries

A variety of videos and access to 7 US libraries with specialised collections from home.


VE Day: 8th May 2020

Virtual VE Day plans are ready and in place. Portsmouth City Council have a great relationship with Wave 105 and there will be a radio broadcast of Winston Churchill’sspeech at 3pm Friday 8th May.

The ‘from darkness to light’ event will also be taking place with spotlights in the sky at approximately 20:45hrs until 22:00hrs. If you have a torch then please do lean out of your of your window and shine it into the sky; let’s light up the whole of Portsmouth!

Although street parties will not be being held, local residents are still very much encouraged to make bunting and other homemade decorations to hang outside their houses.

The D-Day Story will be hosting a live Q and A session on 8th May to talk about Portsmouth and VE Day. You will be able to watch this on the D-Day Story Facebook.

VE Day marks an important moment in history and we want to encourage all our residents to get involved with our new virtual plans to mark the 75th anniversary and commemorate it appropriately. Please do share these with your neighbours and local community to spread the word as far as possible.


Wellbeing and Emotional Support

Finally, we need to remember to take good care of our loved ones and ourselves as we continue to stay at home for the next few weeks. Please find below a list of websites you can go to for guidance and support.

Public Health England have a guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of the coronavirus available for free on the government website.

The NHS have advice on Mental wellbeing while staying at home as it is important to take care of your mind as well as your body during lockdown.

Mental Health UK are offering tips for managing mental health during the outbreak of coronavirus. They have simple steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing and are continuing to add and update their information.

The Samaritans are available 24/7 if you are feeling anxious, lonely, worried or if you are worried about someone else. The Samaritans are a confidential service to support you through any situation.


The current government advice surrounding COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work, this is only if you cannot work from home
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get homeDo not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptomsFor additional details on current government advice, please visit: or

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, Business, Local & Community

Cooking for the community during the Coronavirus lockdown

Date: April 28th, 2020

Vulnerable people in Portsmouth will be tucking into delicious dishes prepared at the Queens Hotel Southsea during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Head chef at Brasserie Blanc at Gunwharf Quays, Anghel Niko Nedelcu has joined forces with Managing Director at the Queens Hotel, Farid Yeganeh, to create delicious meals for those in need of sustenance in the city.

The first meal they created was Boeuf Lyonnaise, a delicious mix of fillet of beef, rice and vegetables.

“We made enough for 150 meals and we will be doing this every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,” explained Farid.

“We are working with Portsmouth City Council and Pompey in the Community. All the meals we cook will be frozen before they are collected from the hotel and distributed across the city.”

As well as using their own stock of food, the hotel at the heart of Southsea has received support from the community including a donation of £3,000 from one well-wisher.

“We are delighted that the supplies we have can be used in such a positive way during the lockdown and we look forward to creating more dishes in the weeks to come,” said Farid.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Boredom Busters Two

Date: April 28th, 2020

Issue two

Let us know what you have enjoyed and share your own ideas and boredom buster tips you have discovered –



UK True Crime

The weekly UK True Crime Podcast is the home of UK true crime. We examine lesser known UK cases in depth, talk to true crime authors, review products/shows and interview other experts in the field of UK True Crime to offer you the very best insight and analysis.


BBC Crossing Continents

Real-life case studies – focusing on foreign affairs issues Geography in action!


99% Invisible 

Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be a regular fixture at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair? 119% Invisible is all about the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about – the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.



Kent Wildlife

Simple things you can do to help wildlife in your garden



Sleep Retreat

Rob Da Bank’s Yoga Nidra guided meditation…for stressed parents or kids from 11/12 years old



Meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and even sleep better. We’ll teach you the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few simple minutes.


Yoga with Adriene

High quality practices on yoga and mindfulness at no cost to inspire people of all ages, shapes and sizes across the globe.



Like dancing?

Youtube – ‘The Fitness Marshall’ (Caleb Marshall dance workouts)…very funky for older kids


NHS Live Well

These equipment-free fitness routines designed to do at home. There are 6 workouts, 1 for every day of the week if you include a rest day, each working on a different area of your fitness



Online Art Class

Sketchbookbybethany on Instagram….easy beginner tutorials starting with watercolours


RA Young Artist Summer Competition

The school has signed up so students can enter



Live Cam at the Zoo

See live footage of penguins, tigers, pandas & Koalas at Edinburgh Zoo


Hedgehog House

Posted in: Articles, What's On

Ghostly goings on …

Date: April 27th, 2020

An advert for Ecko appliances, an electronic brand that manufactured radios and TVs from 1924 to 1960 became visible when the rendering covering it, started to fall away earlier this year. The evocative artwork is a stunning example of hand-painted advertising and the homeowner in Pretoria Road should be warmly congratulated for investing in securing its future.

Painted advertising signs on buildings used to be commonplace all over Portsmouth & Southsea, usually to advertise a shop or business within the building. If you look carefully you can still see the remnants of these ghost adverts, often in unexpected places around town. 

Southsea Lifestyle photographer Paul Windsor put out a call on social media for locals to suggest where he might be able to find more examples – and you didn’t let us down. “The signs are often quite feint, or the typography has been interrupted by modern windows or air vents, but they are a fascinating glimpse of another life and another era” said Paul. 

See if you recognise any of the signs in your neighbourhood? And if you know of any more ‘ghost signs’ for Paul to photograph, just email 


Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

Portsmouth City Council Updates

Date: April 27th, 2020

Miguel Blasco Martin


The last few weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for all of us as Covid-19 has reshaped how we live, work and run our businesses in a way few of us would have imagined at the start of the year.

Things have been changing rapidly and there have been numerous announcements about funding, grants and advice for both businesses and individuals to help you through these uncertain times.

As a department of Portsmouth City Council we understand the pressures you are currently facing and the likely uncertainty of where you need to go to find all the financial support or advice that is available to you. We have therefore compiled a list of organisations and websites with more information and eligibility on funding and grants, as well as online platforms that offer practical advice to both businesses and individuals.

To stay up to date with U.K. Government advice on coronavirus, visit the GOV.UK website.

We also wanted to share how, within the Culture, Leisure and Regulatory Services department we are trying to keeping engaged with the general public; and have also highlighted a couple of examples from our destination partners. We would be delighted to hear from you about any initiatives you have implemented to keep connected with your customers so that we can share these in future newsletters.

And lastly, we have included links to a number of surveys currently being undertaken where you can have your say on how COVID-19 has affected your business or work and whether you think there is enough being done to support you.

Government Aid

The government are currently providing two grants available for both the self- employed and businesses:

Small Business Grant Fund: All businesses in England receiving small business rates relief with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. Details of your small business rates relief award can be found of your bill.To read the eligibility and apply for the grant, please click small business grant fund.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that have a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

Eligible businesses with a property rateable lower than £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

To read the eligibility and apply for the grant, please click retail hospitality and leisure grant.

Support for Charities and Social Enterprises

On the 8th April, the Chancellor of the Exchequer also set out an extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities.

For more information please click frontline charities funding or visit the Charity Bank website that has a whole range of specific information for charities and social enterprises.


Should you wish to contact Portsmouth city Council’s business support line,please call:

023 9284 1641 (open 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday) or visit


Advice and Aid for Individuals


Ipse is working to help the self-employed through the coronavirus. They are providing latest updates and advice, webinars and are available to answer any questions you may have. To access these, click ipse coronavirus hub.

Arts Council England

They are keen to support artists, creative practitioners and freelancers during this time of crisis as best they can. They have sourced £20 million for financial support available to individuals to enable them to better sustain themselves and their work. Apply for this grant, arts council funding.

There are two rounds for all applications. You can only apply for one of these rounds.

Round one opens 9th April 2020 and applicants must register on Grantium by 13thApril in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm 16th April.

Round two opens for applications 16th April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium BY 27th April in order to make an application before the deadline 12pm 30th April.


They are helping grantees through the current crisis. They are working alongside other funders to support efforts to bolster the voluntary sector and public sector as it responds to the outbreak. The Nesta website has many blogposts and weekly updates helping you stay up to date.

Help Musicians Financial Hardship Fund:

Eligible musicians are able to apply for a one-off payment of £500 through an online form. Musicians are encouraged to apply if they are suffering significant financial hardship and will be provided help quickly. For more information, click help musicians.


Firstsite are providing free artist activity packs to keep artists inspired. The packs include contributions from UK artists such as Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan and many more. It is completely free to download, simply fill in the form.

Virtual Culture

As many museums, theatres and exhibitions have closed due to COVID-19, CNN have made a virtual page available to enable you to explore the world of culture from your own home. Their top 5 picks for this week are available on their cnn style.


Advice and Aid for Businesses

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

With the recent pandemic declared by the Government surrounding Covid-19, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce have set up a dedicated page on their website bringing the latest information and a “go-to” for business advice and links.

The Hampshire Chamber team providing regular updates of developments and are fully prepared to advise businesses in the area in whichever capacity they can. If you require any information please email or visit their website.

Business Hampshire

Business Hampshire is providing a central hub of advice surrounding: grants, tax, VAT, banking, statutory sick pay along with much more. To visit their website, please click business Hampshire.

EM3 Growth Hub

The EM3 Growth Hub have a dedicated helpline for businesses and can provide one to one support, advice, access to information, webinars and other support for businesses. Please click EM3 for more.

The Solent Growth Hub

The Solent Growth hub are working with several partners to identify additional support for businesses in the Solent region, including additional funding and advice. On the Coronavirus support hub you will find a page dedicated to the support being offered.


Spektrix is an online converter which converts refunds into donations to the business during this challenging time. The tool is available to all cultural organisations, regardless of the ticketing system you use – it’s free to use, and no data is stored/ accessed. So far they’ve had a great response, with one organisation taking over 250 donations in lieu of refunds in just a few hours.

Visit Britain

Visit Britain are offering tailored guides online to help businesses, specifically in the tourism and hospitality industries, cope with the current situation they find themselves in.

They also detail financial support along with grants worth applying for. Visit Britain has an extensive network, supporting both employers and employees through the COVID-19 crisis. The Destination Management Resilience Scheme has been created to provide financial support for hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium businesses in the tourism sector. Visit Britain intends to work alongside the scheme to provide advice and guidance.

All of this information can be found on the Visit Britain website which is being regularly being updated.

The Creative Industries Federation

They are now extending free membership offers to 6 months in order to help creative individuals and businesses in this time of crisis. Should you wish to sign up, visit their federation website.

Arts Council England

The Arts Council have £50 million available to organisations who are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council. You can apply for a maximum of £35,000. In order to apply for this grant, click arts council

There is also £90 million available for National Portfolio Organisations. This is to be used to reboot creative work and alleviate financial pressures. To apply for this grant, click national portfolio.

There are two rounds for all applications. You can only apply for one of these rounds.

Round one opens 9th April 2020 and applicants must register on Grantium by 13thApril in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm 16th April.

Round two opens for applications 16th April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium BY 27th April in order to make an application before the deadline 12pm 30th April.

Creative Grow Southampton

This business is designed to help businesses reach their goals and offers a range of services based around mentoring, networking and training. Everything is planned and designed to help take creative businesses to the next level. The majority of the work can be completed online, with advisors at the other end of the phone or email ready to help.

Businesses can use the spare time they have expanding and developing their business plans and strategies through this platform. Click creative growth to visit their website.


Theatres and other cultural venues recognised as charities by HMRC can claim Gift Aid on any donations as opposed to payments for goods or services. These charities can claim Gift aid on the value of the tickets for cancelled events if patrons have agreed not to be refunded and agree for the same amount to be treated as a donation. The charity will need to make sure the patrons have made a Gift Aid declaration for their donations to qualify. All information gathered from Parliament UK

Platforms offering advice:

It is important to establish a reach past physical contact to allow your usual custom to continue. This could be managed through a website or social media presence.

Understandably, technology does not come as second nature to us all, the Coronavirus Tech Handbook is an aid for online event planning and collaboration.

MoneyMagpie is available for those needing financial advice online. The site is free to anybody to access and provides detailed advice for businesses struggling given the current situation. You can also get similar advice on the Portsmouth City Council website.

Turn2us have an online calculator to help you work out which grants and funding you are entitled to as a business or if you are self-employed. To access this please click benefits calculator.

The Money Saving Expert

This website provides advice for businesses in all types of situations. It provides many current updates involving bills, travel, money saving, banking and tax. The site has a page dedicated to Coronavirus, to view more click MSE.


Culture and Leisure Service update

Now more than ever, we need to connect with each other during this crisis. Whilst our museums and libraries remain closed, staff having been working hard to deliver experiences we can all enjoy from our homes. Below are some examples for you to explore; we have also included a couple from our destination partners. And if you would like to send us what you have been doing we’d be delighted to hear from youand will share some of them in the next newsletter.

Visit Portsmouth is the go to website for anybody wanting to visit the city, and find out what there is to do, to see and where to stay. As our attractions are currently closed, click on virtual Portsmouth to take a walking tour around town, see visual displays from our museums, and discover links to lots of interactive activities or live performances courtesy of our destination partners.

The D-Day Story has a three-part virtual tour of the museum available, allowing visitors to get the same experience from home. They are also doing a weekly Facebook live stream answering questions for an hour surrounding the museum and the story of D-Day.

Portsmouth Museum is currently home to a dodo skeleton, one of only 12 thought to be left on earth. You can learn about the display and take a virtual tour of the exhibition on YouTube as well as more videos about other collections.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard offers a daily live stream from the mizzen mast of HMS Warrior where you can check out the stunning views of Portsmouth Harbour and Gosport, and the Mary Rose has a huge selection of Tudor-themed craft activities for plenty of family fun.


Portsmouth Libraries are extremely active on social media. They have been sharing storybook recipes, activities, competitions, mental health support, audio book access, rhyme time and story readings.

Hotwalls Studios are posting regularly on all of their social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, showing the fantastic and varied art on offer at the studios.

And if you want some creative inspiration head to the latest news section on Portsmouth Guildhall website where there are loads of creative ideas to do at home; links to world-class performances and the chance to get involved in live sing-alongs!

Have your say…

There are many surveys dedicated to collecting data from across the sector to help policymakers understand and respond to the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 and how it is impacting businesses and the self-employed.

Here is a selection of live surveys where can share your opinions:


They are collecting case studies from freelancers who are not covered by the support that has already been announced by the government for self-employed workers.

Creative and Cultural Sector Coronavirus Impact Study – UK

Collecting data with the ambition to create an independent record of the projects, productions and contracts the sector stands to lose, or have already lost, as a direct result of COVID-19.

The Musicians Union – UK

Collecting data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the work of musicians including financial impact and loss of opportunities.

Creative Industries Federation – UK

Surveying creative businesses and freelancers from the 27 March on the financial impact of COVID-19 and whether UK Government interventions are sufficient.

To take part in more UK and International surveys, visit the Policy and EvidenceCentre’s website here for a longer list.

If you would like to design your own business survey, use this guidance from the Policy and Evidence Centre: ’10 tips for designing business surveys to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the creative industries.’



The current government advice surrounding COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work, this is only if you cannot work from home
  •  If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.For additional details on current government advice, please visit: or

Posted in: Business

Hope in the time of coronavirus

Date: April 22nd, 2020

Looking through my window from the inside, outside looks normal. Outside looks how I’ve been hoping it would look for months – sunny, still, calm. But looks can be deceiving. While nature keeps busy with the changing of seasons, the nation occupies itself with worry and grief. These days, the weather inside me is often the very opposite of sunny, still and calm. 

Lots of people are asking ‘why?’ I’ve heard it said that this is nature’s way of telling us something. It’s spreading this virus to make us stop, pause and take stock of what we’re doing to our planet, and to each other. To me, that feels biblical. Which seems appropriate for apocalyptic times. 

Of course, this isn’t really an apocalypse, even though it feels like one. It’s an awful moment in our history and far too many people are dying. That being true, notwithstanding the current lack of a cure, we have probably never lived in a luckier moment for such a pandemic to occur. 

The large majority of us who get through it should thank our stars that this happened in an age where the internet and the many technologies it enables will provide a life raft for many jobs, businesses and relationships, not to mention the education and entertainment options it offers families stuck indoors for weeks on end and, of course, its power to connect people around the globe who are toiling to understand the virus, improve treatments and find a vaccine. 

This time has been compared to a war and, like many wars, the tragedies will force our nations to reckon with themselves and change things for the better. When this crisis ends, there will be questions to ask and opportunities to grasp – around home-based and flexible working; funding of the NHS and social care; the precariousness of employment and our social safety net; the nature of community and the role of business within it; and, yes, the change we can bring about quickly when we stop emitting so much carbon (hello, swans on Venetian canals).

Today, of course, none of us know when the crisis will end or what our lives will look like by then. As I write this, my 80 year-old father-in-law is in hospital following a bad fall at his home. We don’t know if he’ll be released to a world in which we are legally obliged not to visit him, for fear of contagion. My own parents are on lockdown and unvisitable in south Wales. Sometimes I fear I may never see them again. My wife’s business has shut its doors to the world and hopes to survive hand-to-mouth through online sales, long enough to keep from going under. Friends of ours who rely on freelance work suddenly have no income. 

A few years ago, I wrote about how mindfulness and meditation had helped me through a dark and anxious spell. It’s something I still practice, and it gives me an anchor when the winds of worry rock me. We all need to learn to get more comfortable with uncertainty, and to live moment by moment. Right now, look at that beautiful tree. Right now, look at that beautiful person. Right now, hear that beautiful birdsong. Right now is what’s real. 

He’s not an obvious person to quote in a crisis, but I keep thinking of something the film critic Mark Kermode often says on his film review podcast: ‘Everything will be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright? It’s not the end.’ 

by contributor John Worsey

Posted in: Articles, Business, Local & Community

Isolation – Week Four

Date: April 22nd, 2020


Why I miss washing my kid’s school uniforms.

It’s four weeks since I wrote my last piece about being in isolation. It’s tone possibly a bit smug, but I didn’t believe how horribly the virus would take hold and that we’d all be in isolation for a few months.

I did enjoy the selfishness of that week. Since then, its’ been full on lock-down. I only work part-time, but my husband is full-time and working from home. High-level blokey Zoom meeting chats echo round the house (a bit like Dom Joly if you remember that), accompanied by the kid’s urgent queries of “what’s for lunch”, and “I don’t have any clean clothes”. 

I miss the hallowed tranquillity of that top bedroom…  but – to be fair my children have been amazingly upbeat and easy going – they can’t really help needing food and clean clothes… (school clothes are made of tough wipe-clean technical fabrics that can take a whole week without seeing a washing machine, not so trendy cotton jogging bottoms and hoodies…). Still at least it’s been sunny – pegging out the washing is a new daily ritual.

Some new observations:

Culture Vulture-  things I think about (but never get round to doing):

High-level art projects, worthy high-brow books, ambitious cleaning projects, helping the children with their home school projects

Culture Vulture things I can recommend:

Roger Allam as Prospero in The Globe’s Tempest (Globe TV)

Tiger King, Netflix,  – so sordid it makes you glad to be inside

Friday Night Dinner, Channel 4 – not quite as good as previous series

Jane Eyre, NT Live – I thought it was pretentious at first, but loved it 

Bolshoi live stream – see its Youtube channel (scroll down past the Russian bit for details..)

Mariinsky Nutracker – the whole thing is on YouTube

New skills learned:

  • Washing my hands like a surgeon
  • Looking at the camera on video calls instead of staring at my face 

New words I’m glad I’ve learned

  • Houseparty, Zoom, Google Hangouts, NHS clap

New words I wish I hadn’t learned

  • Tiger King, furlough, social distancing, R-nought, PPE, BC (Before Corona).

Clichés I’ve overused

  • “at this moment in time”, “in the current climate”, “unprecedented”

New dilemmas? Essential or non-essential?

  • Driving to Ocean Park to buy cat litter? (I need the litter and my car needs using so it doesn’t conk out)
  • Walking along the seafront and really enjoying? I do live nearby, but I feel like Sandra Bullock in ‘Birdbox’ every time I go out.
  • Buying a few items and not a massive shop at Waitrose? And also: buying novelty items large boxes of chocolates, wine, flowers…
  • Playing ‘rugby’ with family on the Common; we have a tiny backyard and the kids are climbing the walls (metaphorically)?
  • Ordering gym clothes, painting kit, crochet wool on Amazon to keep sane? Is it fair to expect drivers, etc, to risk their health for this stuff? 
  • Ordering pizza to keep the kids’ morale up (same point as above)

Things we have not run out of:

Toilet rolls

Things we have run out of:

Flour – it disappeared for a while, but I made a very nice polenta and ground almond cake.

Beautiful things:

The stars at night – so big, so clear

The blossom coming out – spectacular

The sea view – eerily blue 

The birds – tweeting like crazy

People’s bookcases in the background on tv – reminder of all those interesting lives. 

NHS clap – amazing to hear the whole city (maybe whole of Europe?) clapping. 



by contributor Emma Beatty

Posted in: Articles, Family, Local & Community

Boredom Busters one

Date: April 22nd, 2020

Welcome to Southsea Lifestyle’s Boredom Buster, designed to keep you busy and engaged on quiet days. Let us know what you have enjoyed and share your own ideas and boredom buster tips you have discovered –



No Such Thing as a Fish 

From the makers of Qi, discussing their favourite facts unearthed in the previous 7 days


Fearne Cotton Happy Place

‘This is a place where I want to collect all things that make me happy – from joyful food to a clear mind. I hope there’s something here to bring good, simple happiness to your every day…’


BBC Earth

BBC Earth’s podcast is everything you’d expect – a blend of nature, science and human experience, with world-class storytelling and immersive soundscapes
https: //www.




Nature & Garden

“Coronavirus gardening – What can you do in the garden during a lockdown?”


BBC Gardening

“Our simple step-by-step guides take away the mystery from common gardening techniques, such as sowing, pruning and taking cuttings. Plus, learn how to care for your garden during adverse weather conditions and how to grow fruit and vegetables. ”


WalkNational Trust Hampshire

Get in the seaBenefits of cold water therapy

Youtube Exercise -Free home workouts to everyone, no matter what their fitness levels. Joe Wicks HIIT

An intense full-body, fat burning, HIIT style, at-home workout! No equipment needed, but the use of one dumbbell will increase the intensity.




The body Camp

Instagram account sharing free recipes Thebodycampuk


BBC Good Food

Everything and anything to inspire you to some delicious recipes


Chef Club

With over 70million subscribers, Chef Club provides short, fun, easy, and inspiring video recipes





Downloadable/printable geometric mask maker (VERY COOL)



Various difficulty levels or Origami Origami Tutorials


Home Decor

Wall art, home decor, gift ideas, and crafting ideas for all ages Crafts by Amanda


Map Quizzes

Fun, free, interactive map quizzes to help you learn about the world around you.


Online courses

Keep learning, wherever you are – short courses on many subjects




Learn to play the guitar with free lessons and songs



Offers you tons of guides and resources to learn to play the ukulele


Posted in: Articles, What's On

Putting Covid-19 anxiety into lockdown

Date: April 1st, 2020

Written by Elly Mitchell

The world has become a little topsy turvy hasn’t it? There is a real sense of uncertainty, and with that, an almost bewildering level of anxiety. 

As someone who experiences anxiety on a relatively regular basis anyway, I must admit, I have found the past few weeks increasingly tiresome. However, after a few discussions with different people, I discovered that a vast amount of those I know feel EXACTLY the same, which, in a peculiar way, made me feel slightly comforted. 

With that in mind, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some of the techniques that have genuinely helped me; of course, everyone is different, but if you can even pick one thing to supply you with comfort, then that’s something, at least. 

  1. Create a routine at home that reflects the norm . This has been particularly challenging, especially with the daily developments introducing new rules to adhere to, but by creating a basic schedule; setting my alarm, cashing in my ‘one exercise per day’ with a morning jog along the seafront, then dividing my day into projects with breaks in-between, I have found myself feeling more at peace – not to mention, the commute from the bedroom to the living room is an absolute dream in comparison to the usual – every cloud!

  2. Don’t obsess over the media. As someone whose mobile phone is more or less a permanent extension of their person, it is almost impossible to avoid the doom and gloom of news alerts and social media conspiracies. However, when it comes to partaking in a little ‘self care’ it is important to try and switch off from these things where possible, and only take in as much information as you can handle. I have realised that delving into the dark corners of the internet and surrendering to scaremongering does not make me feel bright and shiny. Take some time out, switch off, change the channel and go battle that pile of laundry you’ve been ignoring for weeks!

  3. Escapism starts at home. Similarly to the above point, it helps to get some time-out from the ‘real world’. I have been working my way through about a million and one writing projects that I previously haven’t had time for, picked up my guitar again, and have been getting experimental in the kitchen – there are tons of activities you can do to mentally leave your surrounding four walls, without physically leaving the room. Check online for live-streamed exercise classes, free online courses, drawing and writing projects, easy-going film and television recommendations, pick up a new book, or maybe pen and paper – there’s loads to do to keep your mind active and away from worry, whether it’s diving into a UK best-seller, or trying your hand at writing the next one!

  4. Talk. Talk. Talk. You don’t have to be within two-metres to communicate with someone. FaceTime has been a huge saving grace for me, allowing me to continue contact with my nearest and dearest without the anxiety of putting them at potential risk – we are SO lucky to have so many fantastic means of communication – use them! Group chats, emails, phone calls, you don’t have to FEEL isolated to be in self-isolation; and if you are feeling anxious, then talk to someone about it, the chances are, right now, they are feeling the same – now more than ever, we need to steer each other through the hard times.
  5. Don’t forget about nature. I find it hugely calming to be surrounded by nature; now, this is clearly more of a challenge as of the newest restrictions, however; even something as simple as opening the window and feeling the breeze aids in reminding me that there’s a whole world outside, it keeps the claustrophobia at bay, and makes home feel like less of a prison. I am fortunate enough to have an abundance of house plants, moving these into one room to create a mini Eden project is another easy way of bringing nature to you. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, take the opportunity to have a little wander around, maybe engage in some gentle gardening! Even if it’s pouring down with rain – it’s hard to feel overwhelmed when we are surrounded with such great nature. 

These are undoubtedly fretful times, I am trying to remain calm and positive by focusing on life after the storm passes, I hope you can too where possible. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out, and remember that as we steer through troubled waters, we are all in the same boat. 

Be safe, be selfless, be kind, and we’ll see each other on the other side. 

Elly Mitchell is an Events Executive and zany writer, taking a bite out of Southsea and serving up delicious articles along the way.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Culture Vulture

Date: April 1st, 2020

Not going out.

Things to do in Southsea when you’re self-isolating, by Emma Beatty

I’ve had a ‘persistent cough’ for a few days. I don’t think it’s anything serious as I’ve had no fever. I tried to convince myself I was not ill, knowing that I’d have to lock myself away. But I couldn’t keep it up for long, and have been up in the top bedroom, staring out at the grey sky for a few days now – fortunately, there’s a cloud of midges that form just outside the windowpane and that keeps me amused…

When not staring at the midges, I’ve occupied myself with fantasy shopping on This requires little mental effort and takes my mind to strange far-off places as I ponder in which social situation I might wear a “Palm Print Kaftan Sleeve Dress” and which colour to choose, ‘dusty pink’ or ‘camel’. My basket currently has 27 items, and all for £135. The temptation to ‘checkout’ is tantalising, but is countered by the guilty prospect of an enormous plastic-taped parcel arriving, and no room in my bulging wardrobe.    


My beloved, Mr Culture Vulture, has risen to the occasion, bringing me tea and beef hula hoops on request. He takes these things seriously — concerned looks, whilst keeping 2m away and advising against Ibuprofen.

Our strange peace is about to be shattered, as schools are out next week. Two tweenage boys trapped in a Southsea terrace will not be a recipe for peace and joy. But maybe I’m wrong, perhaps we’ll all take up Fortnite or become YouTubers doing challenges, such as counting up to the number 3000 without making a mistake…

Things to keep occupied

• new series of Friday Night Dinner on Channel 4 – always good value

• new series of Ozark on Netflix – to transport me away to the dark heart of Missouri

• new series of The Great British Sewing Bee – my all-time favourite programme.

• semi-final of Portrait artist of the Year on Sky Arts.

• Watching reruns of The Great Pottery Throwdown on YouTube. Strangely calming and uplifting, especially when Keith Brymer Jones cries with joy at the sight of someone’s slip work.

• Discovering Charite, the German WWII hospital series on Netflix.

Crochet (self-isolation is what we crafters have been training for). 

• Reading Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, highly recommended by my mother who reads two novels a week and declares most of them to be ‘not very good’.

• Practising Italian and French for my – now cancelled – holidays on my Duolingo app.
It gets quite bossy if you don’t do your lesson on time and starts messaging you with a strident beep. I may have to delete it soon. 

• Doing facial yoga for my double chin on the handy app suggested to me by my son.
(This activity can be combined with staring at midges.)


Stay safe everyone, and, as David Hockney just said — “Do remember they can’t cancel the spring.”


Emma Beatty teaches journalism at the University of Portsmouth. She has lived in Southsea for thirteen years, and has two children

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Welcome Home

Date: April 1st, 2020

Our Welcome Home feature is an opportunity to speak to Southsea residents about their abodes and what they like best about them. Kate Thompson interviews Jason West about his beautiful Southsea penthouse. Images by Portico Marketing

Home has taken on an even greater significance for us all as we are forced to stay put to beat the Coronavirus. The lockdown means we will all be getting reacquainted with our four walls over the coming weeks.

One man who is counting his blessings is Jason West. He has to have one of the best views in Southsea and he likes nothing more than looking out over the busy Solent.

“We feel very fortunate. It’s not a view, it’s like a kaleidoscope and I never get bored with it.

“At any one time there are a dozen little stories you can focus on from the sailing boats on the water to all the stuff going on the Common. It’s like a Lowry scene,” said Jason, who made Southsea his home in 2012.

He lives at Park House on Clarence Parade and has created a luxurious penthouse home complete with stunning outside space.

Originally, he bought the apartment that sits behind the one where he now lives. The idea was to do it up and rent it out.

“Initially I was going into partnership with Aaron Mokoena who was the Portsmouth FC captain. He found the flat and we were going to do-it-up together because I have been in real estate for 20 years.

“But then Portsmouth went into administration and he went back to South Africa,” explained Jason.

The opportunity came up to buy the adjoining flat which faces the sea – where Jason now lives. When planning permission was finally granted at appeal, Jason worked with Southsea’s Design Team Studios to create the architectural plans. 

“As part of the consent I had to pay £65,000 into the freehold pot. The committee decided it would be a good idea to renovate the lobby areas and I designed a scheme for them to be built in an art deco style.

“By this time, I was running short of money, so I decided to do all the labouring myself. There are 62 steps to reach the apartment, so I had to carry everything up and, of course, bring everything back down again – including the rubble from seven chimney breasts.

“I like keeping fit and I was working from 7am to 7pm every day. On the day I finished, I went to Australia for six weeks and I knew all I needed to do was rest,” he said.


When asked what element of the development gives him the most pleasure, Jason doesn’t hesitate to answer.

“We have given justice to the views by fitting bi-folding doors and larger windows. Before there were narrow little windows and you couldn’t properly appreciate the beautiful vistas from the lounge and bedroom,” said Jason.

And perhaps the perfect finishing touch has been the addition of a 1950s telescope that used to be sited at Dover Castle.

“It’s one of those that you would pay 10p to be able to use. We had it reconditioned with stronger lenses and I must admit I like nothing more than looking out to sea.

“We can see half of the Isle of Wight and when the Round the Island race is on there is no finer site,” he said.

Kate Thompson is a Southsea writer with a passion for uncovering quirky human interest stories

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Southsea Beach Clean

Date: March 2nd, 2020

By Jake Hughes

If you have ever noticed people scouring Southsea beach with litter pickers, it will probably be Southsea Beachwatch. For 10 years, a team of dedicated volunteers have been removing  plastic and other litter, keeping our coastline in tip-top condition. For the past 2 years Jane Di Dino has led the team, and apart from the beach cleans they always complete a survey in September. Last year the volunteers collected 594kg of litter and found some interesting things along the way. 

Including, “circuit boards, a whisk, a Wendy house door, a chandelier, a hanging basket, and a pebble that had been painted gold and wrapped in a purple crochet jacket” The well-dressed pebble was given to one of the children that had volunteered.

Jane Di Dino

As well as tackling all weathers, Jane and the team often run into lots of interesting people. In June last year, the beach was invaded by sharks and lobsters – members of Seaside Shuffle, dressed as marine animals. On another occasion, ‘the Portsmouth Pride Parade came along the promenade — it was so colourful and with the upbeat music it made for a real carnival spirit’ said Jane. 

The last September survey recorded 679 pieces (weighing 10kg), over a 100m area, compared to a national average of 558. As well as taking marine litter off our beaches the data collected is used to run targeted litter campaigns across the country. And to influence policy makers by showing them the scale of the problem, and specific areas where action is needed most. 

On our beaches, plastic food wrappings from sweets and crisps are the most common type of litter. Cigarette butts are a close second; one of the volunteers picked up 213 during one event. The organisers of Southsea Beachwatch recommends that people take small and easy actions to reduce their consumption of everyday single use plastic to help reduce what ends up on our coastline. 

As we head into 2020, we need to take our own bags to the shops and make a home-made lunch for work or school. Carry a reusable cup and portable ashtray. Buy a bar of soap, rather than shower gel and detergent in a bottle. One idea is to take our own containers to takeaways (or find a chippy that still wraps in paper). A small change from lots of individuals will have a huge global impact.

If you would like to join Jane and the rest of the volunteers in February, the event has been confirmed and you can register at

Posted in: Articles, Environment, Local & Community

Welcome Home

Date: March 2nd, 2020

After coming through an emotional few years filled with upset and loss, Annabel Benton has created a living space in her Southsea home that offers tranquillity and solace.

Kate Thompson visited Annabel to find out more, and this is her story. Photos: Paul Windsor

A fascinating life, full of travel and adventure, is reflected in the carefully curated objects in the living space of Annabel Benton’s Southsea home.

Passing the delightful, colourful Victorian tiles that surround the front door as you step over the threshold, Annabel’s home is an oasis of calm and serenity.

Stripped floors with Pompey boards and white walls create the perfect backdrop for keepsakes, treasures, and furniture found across the years.

“My favourite room is the dining room,” said Annabel. “I tend to spend most of my time there.”

A large bookcase covering the facing wall has been repurposed to house special objects collected over a lifetime.

“When I moved back here three years ago, the house felt very dark and old fashioned. 

I had a vision for how I wanted it to look, and it has evolved over time.

“Originally I thought I might get rid of the shelves (which are Mexican pine), but my daughter India and partner Nigel persuaded me to keep them and use them to display items that mean a lot to me,” explained Annabel.

Annabel’s brothers work in design and furniture making and their influence is all around. The dining room table was once a dreaded piece of dark furniture, but her resourceful brothers took it apart and used the elements to create a delightful table which is full of style.

“I took back the dark colour and let the natural beauty come through,” said Annabel. 

Annabel lived in Nigeria with her parents until the age of four, and place mats dating from that era are a treasured possession. A nurse by training, she lived with her doctor husband in Saudi Arabia for 13 years and spent two years in Singapore too.

Annabel spent six years looking after both her father and her husband. Initially when her husband died she could not bring herself to live in the home they had shared, but eventually she felt able to make the move.


“At first I found the prospect of moving back daunting because of the small size of the house. I sanded some of the floors and painted. I took away the ugly fireplace that dominated the front room.

“My settee is from my father’s home, and I am planning to get it recovered. My daughters say I should get a more comfy one but I love the design of this one.

“My parents had a wonderful round oak dinner table, it was very large and there were five children in the family. “So my brothers used the wood to make us all an item that we can cherish.”

Annabel’s home is full of memories but she has worked hard to make sure the possessions that surround her trigger positive and happy thoughts.

“My home is really tranquil and peaceful. I work as a learning support assistant four days a week which, is quite hectic.

“So I really enjoy being able to come back to a place I can call home,” she said.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Face to Face

Date: March 2nd, 2020

Talking to people with passion for what they do.  By Justin Strain.

Matt Wingett, photo: Paul Windsor


Matt Wingett – Southsea author and publisher. Much of Matt’s work involves Portsmouth, the city of his birth.

Tell us about the books you write. I don’t really have a genre, I have a setting, and that is Portsmouth.  In 2017 I wrote a novel, The Snow Witch, telling the story of a mysterious young woman arriving in a snowbound Portsmouth and facing her past. In 2018, Portsmouth, A Literary and Pictorial Tour – a journey through historical Pompey, using descriptions from writers both famous and obscure. Last year I published Mysteries of Portsmouth, looking at paranormal and unexplained events over the last 200 years. 

What have been the high and low points?   My high point is the art exhibition based on The Snow Witch that was held in Cascades in November. The whole experience was so uplifting and quite humbling. My low point: 10 years fighting writers’ block,- which isn’t just not feeling like writing, as some people imagine, but a deep sense of doubt in one’s own value as a writer. 

What is it about Portsmouth that captures your imagination? The city is an amazing mixture of rough, gritty, and beautiful. It’s poetic, joyous, dark, dangerous, with so many people living close to each other on an island with international connections and an extraordinary history.  

What advice would you give to someone starting out in writing?  Find your own voice. Try things out, but if it doesn’t work for you, ditch it. There’s a fashion in writing classes that villains must be likeable or have some quirk that makes them seem vulnerable. Utter rubbish. Follow what feels true to you, not what feels true to someone else. 

How do you write? I type straight onto my laptop. I used to take notes, but if I can’t remember something, it’s probably not important. I do occasionally lay out the structure of a book onto cards, to help get the contents right. I will often rewrite to balance the sentences. The Snow Witch went to 28 drafts.   

You often write about strange occurrences, has anything happened to you while writing? I sometimes sit in the half lotus position, listening to ethereal music while writing. I once went into a trance and cut off the blood supply to my foot. I got up to walk and crashed into furniture, sending everything flying. My father-in-law told me it served me right, but I have yet to find a moral connection between sitting and bad things happening to you.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

The Knight & Lee Effect

Date: February 10th, 2020

Although independent traders were fearing the worst this Christmas following the closure of Knight & Lee in Palmerston Road, a number of retailers found that the departure of the much-loved department store has actually given their sales a boost, as shoppers begin to explore independent shops. 

“We’ve been Increasingly busy with new customers discovering our jewellery boutique and seeing our workshop in action. We’ve also added a ‘Vintage shelf’ to recapture the thrill of browsing the Knight & Lee second-hand jewellery cabinet,” said Charlotte Cornelius.

While, Helen Steenhuis of The White Dog Gallery said, “Although I would still rather Knight & Lee existed, we certainly noticed an uplift in sales this Christmas”. Design House Southsea, have seen a 25% increase in sales of sofas, along with other furnishings towards the end of 2019. “I felt there were less shoppers on the high street this year, but people were prepared to spend more, and once the election was over, we were extremely busy,” reported Linzi Kelly of Southsea Rock. 

“Knight & Lee was undeniably a very convenient way to shop, but now that it’s gone, along with Debenhams, shoppers arebeing more imaginative about finding other outlets and people seemed pleasantly surprised at the huge variety of cards and gifts we stock,” said Linzi. 

Tristan Savage of Strong Island Clothing Co. said, “I never quite believed the 

headlines about UK high streets dying because shoppers are really getting into shopping with independent shops. We sell online too, but we sell more in the shop because people prefer the experience”. 

What’s in store?

So what about the regeneration of Knight & Lee by the THAT Group? The plans feature co-work office space, retail units, bike hire, event spaces, including a rooftop bar and terrace, and hotel accommodation. 

Subject to planning approval, work is expected to start early this year. see p. 42.

“With the new developments in the Palmerston Road area, then the 2020s could be a very positive decade for retail,” concluded Charlotte Cornelius. 

Here are some ideas of where to find local alternatives to Knight & Lee — let us know if you have any more suggestions.

  • Women’s fashion, clothing, accessories, handbags and scarves — Preview Boutique, Marmion Road
  • Women’s and men’s clothing, jeans, t-shirts, accessories — Fatface & Strong Island, Marmion Road 
  • Haberdashery — Southsea Stash, Marmion Road. Seeded, Albert Road
  • Skin care, bathing products and gift sets — Southsea Bathing Hut, Albert Road 
  • Sofas, carpets, lighting, soft furnishings, wedding presents, glassware — Design House Southsea, Marmion Road
  • Furniture, mirrors, lighting and gifts — Victoriana, Marmion Road 
  • Greetings cards and wrapping paper — Southsea Rock, Marmion Road; Southsea Library, Palmerston Road 
  • Household goods and electrics — Robert Dyas, Palmerston Road 
  • Sunglasses — Cameron Davies, Marmion Road 
  • Artwork, frames and gifts — Southsea Gallery, Albert Road; White Dog Gallery, Stanley Street
  • Fine Jewellery — Barbara Tipple, Charlotte Cornelius, Roux Jewellery, Marmion Road
  • Pre-owned jewellery selection — Charlotte Cornelius, Marmion Road
  • Shoes, clothing and gifts — The Station at Freya Rose, Grove Road South
  • Beds, waterbeds — High & Dry Waterbeds, Elm Grove 
  • Toys and models — Southsea Models & Games, Albert Road 
  • Computers — Acronym Computers Winter Road; PCI Deals, Albert Road 
  • And to finish… coffee and cake — Southsea Coffee, Andre’s, Osborne Road

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

New Year, New Food

Date: February 5th, 2020


Ten mouth-watering eateries around Southsea to help you kick-start 2020 in style. By Elly Mitchell

Whilst the majority of the population perceive the new year as the ideal opportunity to reduce their treat intake and apprehensively clamber back upon the fitness wagon they slipped from over the festive period, I would argue that it is the chance to challenge society’s expectation of engaging in unrealistic resolutions, and to instead throw ourselves into trying new, wholesome experiences that give us ​fulfilment​ – after all, the gym isn’t going anywhere, and you don’t have to sacrifice pleasure in order to be healthy and happy!

From tasty breakfasts to exquisite plant-based dishes, whatever your preference, you are guaranteed to find something to take a bite out of with these ten glorious Southsea foodie havens.

Because it’s the most important meal of the day!


Peacefully perched only a stone’s throw from the capricious waters of the English Channel, Southsea Beach Cafe is a delightfully unique eatery, providing locals and travellers alike with unbeatable food all year round.

Famous for:​ The perfect formula of exciting, wholesome meals, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, without crossing the line towards intimidating pretentiousness. Their smashed avocado on toasted sourdough is just one example of how they succeed in taking a popular morning dish, and transform it into a flavour explosion!
Eastney Esplanade, Southsea PO4 9GE


Proudly living up to their mantra that cake is not just for birthdays, The Tenth Hole is a quintessentially British tea room that offers a delightful menu packed with delicious, fresh bakes, delicately crafted with love, as well as an extensive breakfast menu that boasts the best British ingredients.

Famous for:​ Delicious, honest food, proudly delivered in a warm and friendly environment. Whether you fancy digging into a dish from their impressive breakfast menu, or trying a taste of something from their delectable home-baked goods, there’s endless choices to help fill that hole!

Eastern Parade, Southsea, PO4 9RF

Because it’s not quite a treat without tea and cake.


Positioned in a splendidly prime location, directly on Southsea Common, the Parade Tea rooms offer a fantastic pit-stop for those strolling along the magnificent Western Parade. It is hard to believe that this cosy eaterie was once an abandoned substation, now cheerfully demonstrating to passers-by that the world is a much happier place with a cup of tea and a slice of something nice!

Famous for:​ Stunning cakes of all flavours to suit all tastes, as well as traditional high tea served on fine bone china. Indulge in homemade sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, all served on a three-tier cake-stand along with tea and coffee. There is the option to swap your hot beverage for a bottle of champagne or prosecco; the best way to add some class to your cake!

Western Parade, Southsea PO5 3JF


Because a plant-based diet doesn’t have to mean just a salad.


Nestled in the heart of Southsea, within the walls of a majestic Grade II listed building, you will find Becketts; a multi-functional eatery expertly uniting tradition with contemporary style – it’s no secret that this is mecca for instagrammers – and with the expansion of their already impressive menu to cater for additional vegan and vegetarian requirements, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Famous for:​ Beautifully presented dishes, boasting gorgeous local and wild ingredients, connecting with the seasonality of food. Their brand new brunch menu is a plant-based heaven that will have even seasoned carnivores drooling.
11 Bellevue Terrace, Southsea PO5 3EAT


Standing proud as a unique establishment within its area, Hunter Gatherer seems to perfectly understand that you don’t need to overcomplicate dishes to make them both impressive and delicious. For them, dining is an entire experience that segregates no-one, bursting with character whilst providing an atmosphere that prompts people to return time and time again.

Famous for:​ Serving specialist coffees from all around the globe, it is a true retreat for the caffeine connoisseur, perfect when enjoyed alongside one of the vegetarian or vegan dishes – living by a meat-free mantra is only a tiny detail when the menu offers such incredible variety.

249 Albert Road, Southsea PO4 0JR

Because any occasion can become a special occasion with a plate of good food.


Offering a unique, modern dining experience, Restaurant 27’s à la carte menu is meticulously crafted with the very best ingredients, and a raw passion for food, presenting daring dish combinations that are complemented with an extensive wine list, served by a passionate and knowledgeable team.

Famous for: ​Food isn’t just ‘part of the job’ here; it is ​everything​. The unique ‘Global French’ style of cooking fuses classic gastronomic cuisine with exciting, modern flavours, and is responsible for the elegant, flavoursome dishes within their sample menus.

27a South Parade, Southsea PO5 2JF


Serving its 20th year, Montparnasse is a pillar of the local foodie community, with an ever-changing menu that expertly picks the very best seasonal ingredients, transforming them into high-quality, memorable dishes. Unfortunately, this restaurant will be serving it’s last meal this spring, so ensure you get a taste of the action while you can!

Famous for:​ Exciting, European cuisine delivered in a friendly, knowledgeable restaurant setting. 

103 Palmerston Road, Southsea PO5 3PS

Because it wouldn’t quite be a seaside town without it!


Salt and vinegar smothered over fresh-battered fish, and perfectly crispy chips; a taste of nostalgia that resides deep within British culture; The Fisherman’s Kitchen expertly captures this through their traditional, yet adventurous, menu, aiding in reminding us that a chippy tea can go further than your standard cod or haddock, with an ever-changing specials board that continues to tantalise locals taste buds.

Famous for​: A ‘think outside the box’ menu that breaks away from the standard offerings of a fish and chip shop whilst retaining unbeatable quality. Try something from the baps and tacos selection, adding an exciting new dynamic to traditional chip shop cuisine.

4 Clarendon Road, Southsea PO5 2EE


Greeted by a majestic open space, high ceilings adorned with chandeliers, and unrivalled views across the Solent, if it wasn’t for the open kitchen displaying careful preparation of each dish, you would be forgiven for assuming you were anywhere but a fish and chip shop.

Famous for:​ Generous portions of their signature hand-battered cod and chunky chips, boasting the freshness and flavour you would expect so close to the sea. Choose something from the gorgeous grill menu, offering succulent rib eye steak, as well as sumptuous burgers and chicken dishes – they really have covered every base!

South Parade Pier, Southsea PO4 0SW

Where will your taste buds take you this year?

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Mates before Dates

Date: February 5th, 2020

The perfect match for your anti-Valentine’s weekend by Elly Mitchell

It’s that time of year again; supermarket shelves are adorned with chocolates, roses, questionable plush bears and schmaltzy greetings cards.

Whether you are a traditional, old romantic, seeking a taste of the unique; or simply couldn’t care less about the whole spectacle, these exciting, alternative Southsea Valentine’s events are the perfect answer to your date night — or mate night — dreams! 


Bonita’s – Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th February 

Calling all single ladies: If Valentine’s is a day that you want to remember as much as the world remembers two thirds of Destiny’s Child, then Bonita’s Beyoncé brunch is the offering for you. Delicious food and exciting cocktails and music from the queen of sass herself. Limited availability! 


Gaiety Bar – South Parade Pier / Friday 14th February 

Throw it back this Valentine’s with this ‘40s/’50s/‘60s-themed party at Gaiety Bar on South Parade Pier; a delightfully quirky concept to be enjoyed with your partner, your friends, or by yourself, featuring live music from party band Hitched and DJ Susie Q, plus prizes for the best-dressed dancers. 


Brewer’s Tap / Friday 14th February 

Join Brewer’s Tap and have yourself a hoppy Valentine’s with an evening dedicated to the greatest love of all: the love of beer! Try something new with a mystery beer launch, plus some surprises along the way.


Wedgewood Rooms / Saturday 15th February 

Discover a new soundtrack to your Valentine’s Day this year at the Wedgewood Rooms. Hosting their annual ‘Massacre’, this fun-filled evening challenges local bands to unleash their inner Cupid, covering versions of their favourite relationship songs, presumably with some turbulent angst. Guaranteed to be a great night for lovers of live music.

If you do find yourself at a loose end, just remember: all those over-priced, heart-shaped chocolates will be on offer by the 15th February, and you don’t have to share: So who is the real winner?

Posted in: Food & Drink, What's On

What do the 2020s have in store for Portsmouth?

Date: February 5th, 2020

By John Worsey

 It’s the cold, dark and drizzly end of a long, busy January day. But at the Portsmouth City Council offices in Guildhall Square, Councillor Steve Pitt’s enthusiasm is undimmed as we talk about the city’s future. Portsmouth born-and-bred, Steve used to run the music programme at The Cellars in Eastney. Now he’s the Deputy Head of Portsmouth City Council — we talk about the Council’s ambitions for the next decade.   


‘Some people say, “Oh no, Debenhams is closing, that’s the end of Southsea.” But the world changes. Let’s listen to people. The community will drive what happens next through demand.’ 

Just look at Knight & Lee. Re-opening this year, it will feature small units for independent retail businesses, a networking lounge, co-working spaces and bookable meeting rooms, cinemas, a hotel, and a roof terrace bar. The owners of Debenhams will go to community consultation over that building’s future later this year. So watch out and make your voice heard! 

‘235,000 people live in Portsmouth,’ Steve says. ‘That’s a critical mass that can influence change. You don’t just have to ask the Council to fix things. Make your own ideas public.’ 

Steve points to the success of independent brands like Southsea Bathing Hut and Baffled Coffee as examples of how locals can make an impact. He expects the regeneration of the Kings Theatre to cement Albert Road’s status as an attractive home for independent businesses. He agrees Portsmouth is lucky to have a street populated by indies, at a time of identikit high streets nationwide. That said, he’s also keen to note Commercial Road is doing better than many think – only two units are vacant, and changes to the street market are bringing new energy to the area. 


‘We need to celebrate creativity in all its forms,’ Steve says. ‘This city is brilliant at it. But we don’t talk about it. For example — did you know Portsmouth had two artists exhibit at the Royal Academy last year; Sadie Tierney and Karl Rudziak?’  

Steve was a driving force in getting Portsmouth Creates off the ground, with the City Council contributing 25% of its funding. It’s a Community Interest Company which exists to help ensure everyone gets to take part and enjoy what Portsmouth’s dynamic cultural scene has to offer.

Steve says the development of Portsmouth Creates is about ‘empowering the city’s creative community to be its own agent of change.’ Whatever happens with the Council and the economy in the future, this is a way of giving our creatives a toolkit to secure their own partnerships, funding, and opportunities. Look out for its first free public event, Portsmouth’s very own major light festival – We Shine Portsmouth – in November 2020.


‘Homelessness is a really good example of where we’re not getting the message across,’ Steve says. ‘We are getting grants from government for the outstanding work we’re doing in supporting our homelessness community.’

He explains, ‘People don’t necessarily perceive there to be a big change because the level of transience in the homeless community is very high. Our allocation of night beds is increasing, but homeless people come south in winter because the weather is better.

‘People are homeless for different reasons – mental health, relationship breakdown, substance abuse, job loss — you have to tackle it on an individual basis. We’ve got government funding to create two teams. One is already in place. In their first five weeks, they’ve got four individuals who had used our night shelters into permanent housing — one of them was long-term homeless. The second team will engage with those who aren’t coming to night shelters.’


‘Making the city greener is our number one

priority,’ Steve says. ‘The food waste trial has been massively successful, and we’ll be expanding it. The refuse lorry contract is not up til 2021, so we need to be pragmatic, but we’re committed to rolling it out across the city.’ 

Portsmouth shares plastic recycling facilities with other councils. Steve is keen to see all of them investing in a new modern facility. This will include getting a better disposal stream in place, so a more comprehensive range of items can be recycled.

Investing in public transport will help to lower carbon emissions. The Council is bidding to improve bus provision. Steve also cites a need for bike hubs, and wants to explore making electric scooters available to rent – an idea he’s discussed with Extinction Rebellion. 

The upcoming Tipner West development is ambitious – a car-free community, in which you’ll step from your house into a shared, clean, green urban space. Steve notes, ‘It’s going to take time, but check out the plans online.’ 

The Council wants to run a public climate summit this year. It will also be paying attention to ideas from the Climate Change Board. Established to empower the community, the Board is independently chaired by the University of Portsmouth’s Professor Steve Fletcher, who also advises the UN on environment and sustainability issues. 

Portsmouth enters the 2020s as a city with many challenges – but also full of opportunities. As the decade unfolds, we can look forward to living in a place that gradually becomes cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier. And, says Steve, ‘if you have an idea to make it better, get involved.’

Councillor Steve Pitt. Photo: Paul Windsor

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

The Southsea Lifestyle Anniversary

Date: January 8th, 2020

In January, Southsea Lifestyle will be fifteen years old, Kate Thompson talks to Zirrinia Austin Dean about how it all started.

Beginning with a few copies delivered to neighbours, Southsea Lifestyle now has the largest independent magazine readership in the city. 

“Our first title was The Southsea Directory, I never imagined we’d be still be publishing in fifteen years, but people have been so kind and supportive we’ve never had a good reason to stop,” said Zirrinia Austin Dean, who used to design books for the publisher Dorling  Kindersley. 

“It’s hard work as Kevin, (my husband) and I do most of the work ourselves. Although we do have some highly creative people who help us, Charlotte runs our social media, Sophie, the ‘What’s On’ and Danny looks after our website.

“Then there’s all our wonderful writers, John Worsey, Emma Beatty (and of course you Kate), who do a lot of the writing and we keep finding new talented writers to publish. And then we have about 12 people delivering the magazines door to door in all weathers, it’s become quite a big operation”

So what’s the magic formula? “We don’t really have one, we just try to work with people who have similar values to us, which I guess, revolves around wanting to create a caring and humane community. 

“Giving a voice to people or ideas that might otherwise get overlooked. Currently we are very concerned about climate change and we intend to keep publishing on that subject, but also homelessness, the LGBT community, as well as trying to support new businesses and the arts.We are so lucky that Southsea is full of so many amazing people and stories that we want to expand upon the usual ‘lifestyle’ topics which can become a bit predictable.”

How about the commercial side of things? “Kevin and I are artists and designers. We loathe cold calling and in the main we don’t! Virtually all of the advertising comes from people contacting us, and because so many businesses get a good response they stay with us, some have been advertising with us for the past 12 years. Of course we need to keep the revenue coming in and we always welcome businesses who want to promote their services  to our wonderful readers, by supporting Southsea Lifestyle.”

Here’s to the next 15 years … Congratulations Kevin and Zirrinia.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

It’s time to go green or at least try to…

Date: January 8th, 2020

Tamara Gingham takes on climate change – one step at a time

Now, I’m no eco warrior, I’ve got the central heating turned up high and my cosy jumper was imported from the Philippines. And until recently, I thought Extinction Rebellion was a heavy metal band. 

But I know I ought to start to do more for our poor, beleaguered planet. Now I know what you’re thinking, what can ‘I’ as one individual do to help turn climate change around, it’s the government that needs to take control. For the most part you would be absolutely right, but I have started to explore this a little further. 

If we all come together and change a few habits, it’s not going to hurt, in fact it’s going to do a lot of good. If individuals have all contributed to climate change in the first place, we can all do our little bit to try and stop it getting worse. Even if it’s just changing your shampoo to a more natural version, to reduce the plastic particles and chemicals from contaminating our seas. 

We can take it one step at a time. There is a need for a little haste, and a little hurry, as the United Nations says there are only 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change!

Don’t panic. Well maybe panic a little…. To make small changes isn’t as hard as you might think, it’s just knowing what changes to make and how. You didn’t ask, but I have come up with a few ideas to get you started. I won’t suggest recycling, as I know you do that already, and I’m sure you try to reuse bags for your shopping.

But do you have a reusable water bottle, or cup for hot drinks on the go? It’s a hard habit to get into, but eventually you can go weeks and months without buying a single plastic water bottle, or a throw away coffee cup.

Scrap the meal-deal, and prepare lunch at home with reusable Tupperware, buy loose fruit and vegetables, try to cut down on meat and animal products. Use your legs more, instead of jumping in the car, walk or cycle. Get rid of your car altogether, think of the money you’d save? According to the RAC most cars are parked up, unused, for 95% of the time. If that’s a step too far you could look at getting an electric car, a hybrid, or look into joining the Enterprise Car Club in Portsmouth, allowing you access to a car when you need it, even if it’s just for a quick trip to the shops. 

Talking of shopping, start buying biodegradable products, such as dog litter bags and bin bags, even products that are made from bamboo as an alternative to single-use plastics such as bamboo earbuds or a toothbrush. And as we are in the bathroom, did you know that while the north of England is flooding, the rivers in southern England are drying up because we are extracting too much water from them for all those long hot showers? 

Think before you buy, do I need it? Where is it sourced from? What is it made of?

Posted in: Articles, Environment

Life’s never a drag with the Fabulous Miss G

Date: January 8th, 2020

Words by Kate Thompson

“ I don’t feel right until the lashes are on – and then I become Miss G,” confided Andrew Pearce. The successful Southsea businessman has been donning his glad rags to become his stage persona for 20 years. And in that time his performances have raised around half a million pounds for good causes.

“Over the years the show has changed, and I couldn’t do all this without the fabulous people around me.

“It takes three months to prepare for a show. I make all my own costumes, and every time I say ‘This will be my last’, but then we get such fantastic feedback that I have to go on.

“It’s not until the evening itself that the whole show comes together – we’ve all been preparing but the magic happens on the night.

“I do get nervous and it’s exciting and exhausting, but always worth it.

Photo: John Snowden

“We just held a show in November and sold 10 tables on the night for the next show,” explained Andrew. As well as being a chance to fulfil his theatrical ambitions, the Fabulous Miss G has allowed him to give something back to the place he calls home.

From Prostate Cancer awareness to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Andrew has been able to support their causes, and over the years he has donated many pieces of equipment to QA hospital.

With RuPaul’s Drag Race UK introducing a whole new audience to drag, Andrew is delighted the art form is once more in the spotlight.

“You used to have so many people on TV dressing up from Kenny Everett and Dick Emery to Lily Savage and Danny La Rue.

“I’m not really on the circuit, and I don’t know if I would want to go through the trauma of appearing on Drag Race UK.

“I prefer to do my shows here and raise money for causes that are close to my heart,” he said.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

An Attitude of Gratitude

Date: December 12th, 2019

Words by Charla Grant

Photo: Will Hutchinson

The festive period and the arrival of a New Year can be a tricky time. As we revel in the act of giving and receiving, some may experience feelings of inadequacy and the thief of joy: comparison. A tonic to these challenges is found within the simple notion of gratitude:

‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’

Keeping a daily log of gratitude creates optimism, and the deeper appreciation you feel results in more longer-lasting positivity. Cue a warm fuzzy feeling of thankfulness every time gratitude is shared, or a moment is taken to reflect on what is present, rather than what is missing.

After experiencing tragic loss and the grief that came with it, I was able to use gratitude as a way of getting back to the positive person I once was. I wanted to share what I had learnt about gratitude and so The Grateful Hearts Club was born. 

The Grateful Hearts Club uses gratitude as a self-care tool, and a way of spreading positivity to those who need it. A set of cards has been designed to capture reflections of gratitude, each with its own envelope so they can be shared with friends, family, or maybe even in a random act of kindness. 

However you decide to mark this special time of year, I hope you’re able to give thanks for what you do have and join me in giving more thought and kindness to those who don’t have as much.

If you’d like to find out more about gratitude or The Grateful Hearts Club please visit or follow us @thegratefulheartsclub

Posted in: Articles, Health & Fitness

A Christmas Ghost on Palmerston Road

Date: December 12th, 2019

By John Worsey & Charles Dickens

‘ Unbelievable!’ Morris cried. ‘I’ve come all the way to Knight & Lee and it’s not here anymore! Where am I going to get Lillian’s presents now? Something gold, something chocolate and some luxury socks — it was all under one roof! And now it’s gone! Unbelievable!’  

He stalked down Palmerston Road, muttering, ‘Better get back to the car before they give me a ticket, those penny-pinching bureaucrats… Unbelievable!’

He stopped opposite the church, turned his face to the darkening sky and exclaimed, ‘First never-ending Brexit and now this – the country’s going to the dogs!’ 

Feeling overcome, he made for a nearby bench. It brought him no comfort. 

‘Good grief, this bench is freezing! What’s it made of — ice? Some sort of ludicrous art statement, is it? Council funded, no doubt. What a waste of my taxes! Unbelievable!’ 

‘Darkness is cheap,’ said a voice from the shadows. ‘And you like it.’

Morris sat bolt upright. The chill that ran down his spine had nothing to do with the winter air. 

‘Who’s there?’ Morris’ voice sounded small and shrill. He was suddenly, uncomfortably aware that there was not another soul around so late on Christmas Eve.

‘Merry Christmas,’ said the voice. 

Out of the shadows stepped a man in a Victorian suit, with an extravagant bowtie, an equally extravagant goatee beard, and a balding head of wavy hair. ‘God bless us, every one.’

‘Erm,’ said Morris. ‘Who are you?’

‘I am the Ghost of Charles Dickens.’

‘Unbelievable,’ said Morris. ‘Now I’m alone with a nutter. I must be the unluckiest man in Portsmouth.’

‘Oh, poor man,’ said the lunatic Dickens. ‘With your beautiful house, your loving and patient wife, your healthy rental income, your golf club membership.’ 

‘What’s your point?’ Morris sniffed. ‘Wait — how do you know all that?’

‘There is infection in disease and sorrow.’

‘Don’t you start. Lillian’s always telling me to cheer up.’

‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.’

‘What about flu? I had terrible flu in January. Unbelievable, it was.’

‘Happy, happy Christmas,’ Dickens beamed, ‘that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth.’

‘Happy?! Lillian’s going to kill me when I come home empty handed. Blasted Christmas, stupid presents, the stress’ll probably kill me before she does!’ 

‘You carry your own low temperature always about with you,’ Dickens mused. ‘You ice your office in the dog-days, and don’t thaw it one degree at Christmas?’

Morris shuffled uncomfortably. ‘You seen the price of gas? Disgraceful. My bills are unbelievable.’

Spreading his arms wide, Dickens declaimed, ‘I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely -’

‘Wait a minute. Are you a council-funded art project?’ 

The ghost sighed. It knelt and clasped Morris’ hands together. Morris was too shocked to pull away. 

‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,’ said Dickens. ‘But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.’

And with that, the Ghost of Charles Dickens stood and strode into the shadows. 

‘Unbelievable,’ Morris muttered. ‘Hang on, what’s this?’ He unclasped his hands and there in his palm, evidently slipped there by the stranger, was a gold necklace – just like the one he’d planned to buy for Lillian. 

‘Hey!’ Morris called. ‘Wait!’

‘I can do the Christmas, mate,’ came the voice of Dickens, from halfway down the street, sounding a little less posh, ‘But you’ll have to do the merry for yourself.’ 

‘Unbelievable,’ Morris almost said – but, to his own surprise, he stopped himself. 

That night, when Morris arrived home, Lillian said, ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’ 

He found himself laughing uncontrollably, and when he finally calmed enough to tell her his story, she laughed uncontrollably too. They sank to their knees in front of a roaring fire, clutching each other like young lovers, helpless with giggles.

And Morris found a merriness he’d buried a long time ago; a time before offices and mortgages, bills and parking tickets. He felt something thaw inside him. And he vowed to never let it freeze over again. That was the merriest Christmas for many years, and the first of many to come.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Mulled Wine recipe – Brasserie Blanc

Date: December 12th, 2019

Nothing gets us in the mood for Christmas quite like the smell of warm mulled wine. 

So, to kick start the holiday season, Brasserie Blanc at Gunwharf Quays is letting you in on its ultimate seasonal recipe…


1 litre red wine • 200ml orange juice  • 200ml apple juice • 30ml brandy • 40g caster sugar • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 star anise – whole • 2 cardamom pods – crushed • 1 finger sized piece of fresh ginger – peeled and chopped • ½ orange – sliced • 1 Earl Grey teabag


1 Place all the ingredients into a large non-reactive saucepan

2 Simmer for 40 minutes

3 Strain and serve warm in a glass suitable for hot drinks

4 Garnish with a slice of orange 

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Trifle Serve Recipe – The Alchemist

Date: December 12th, 2019

The Alchemist Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays’ newest bar and restaurant, The Alchemist, will be serving up an exciting array of festive-themed tipples in addition to its existing menu of expertly crafted cocktails this Christmas, including the sweet and creamy ‘Trifle Serve’. 


White chocolate foam • Monin White chocolate syrup – 100ml • Whipping Cream – 350ml • Whole milk – 50ml

1 Combine all the ingredients together and pour into a foam cannister

2 Charge with a number two charger

*If you don’t have a foam cannister, you can use whipped cream instead. 


Trifle cocktail •22.5ml Discarded Cascara • 22.5ml Martini Fiero • 25 ml red wine • 20ml Bristol Syrup Company Strawberry Shrub

1  Shake the Discarded Cascara, Martini Fiero, red wine, Bristol Syrup Strawberry Shrub and 30ml of white chocolate foam together in a cocktail shaker

2  Double strain the mixture into a coupe glass and top with the rest of the white chocolate foam or whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. 

3  Enjoy!

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Shop local this Christmas

Date: December 2nd, 2019

There are so many good reasons to shop local this Christmas. But if you want one, or should we say two reasons to keep in mind before buying your gifts from Amazon – it’s the  boarded up Knight & Lee and Debenhams, which will be closing soon. Not to mention all the other empty shops around town. Many of our readers are telling us they are doing all their Christmas shopping locally, and that it’s not difficult to find everything you need at our wonderful independent shops. It’s fun, it’s good exercise and we are helping to keep our high streets alive and vibrant. Here are a few examples to choose from:


Andy’s Maritime Antiques

A wide variety of inexpensive gifts for Christmas, ideal for someone who enjoys the great outdoors or for someone who likes adding camouflage to their wardrobe
29 St Vincent Road, Southsea PO5 2QR
Tel 02392 753108


The Portsmouth Distillery Co.

Award winning handcrafted spirits available from The Portsmouth Distillery Co., buy online, pop into our shop or take a tour
Fort Cumberland  Southsea PO4 9LD  02392733339


The Station At Freya Rose

A new concept store, with gorgeous unique products from independent traders, from designer apparel, accessories, candles, chocolates, flowers, jewellery and bathing products. You can also get express make up and hair styling for £20
12 Grove Road South  Southsea PO5 3QT


Barbara tipple

Bee lucky pendant – This exquisite bumble bee pebble pendant is artistically cast in silver with an 18ct yellow gold bee delicately poised on the edge. £315.00 + chain
15 Marmion Rd Southsea PO5 2AT


Love Southsea

The iconic Love Southsea insignia sweatshirt in glorious black and white, or white and black, comprised of two seaside swallows carrying an anchor and a heart.
Love Southsea Market


Charlotte Cornelius

Bubble Collection Pendant Links with fully traceable Diamonds, Sapphires, Emeralds, Tourmalines or Spinels from £270 each. Exclusive jewellery gifts expertly and carefully created in-house from £54 in Sterling Silver.
87A Marmion Road  Southsea PO5 2AX


Southsea Bathing Hut

Transform your bath time with our Bath Time Gift Set. Handmade with gentle, natural and nourishing ingredients, create your own bathtime bliss.
2 & 2C Albert Road Southsea  PO5 2SH


Design House Southsea

Alongside our comprehensive selection of furniture, soft furnishings, and home design service, we stock an amazing collection of Christmas decorations, soft toys and gifts.
55-57 Marmion Road Southsea PO5 2AT


Medusa Hairdressing 

A wide selection of KMS, Molton Brown & Cloud Nine Christmas gift ideas available at Medusa Hairdressing
74-76 Osborne Road  Southsea PO5 3LU

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Culture Vulture

Date: December 2nd, 2019

Clara and The Nutcracker Prince at the New Theatre Royal

Christmas Crackers, by Emma Beatty

“ Tis the season to be jolly: Christmas is looming and there’s lots on offer in Southsea – pantomimes, concerts, ice skating, Santa runs, festive high teas (literally high in the case of the Spinnaker Tower’s Clouds café). We’ve trawled through the listings to pick out the best. “God bless us, everyone!”

Pantomimes and plays

Lantern Light Theatre takes over the Round Tower for its version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol (12-15 Dec). Meanwhile, the New Theatre Royal has another of its annual “Christmas Musical Spectaculars”, written and directed by the theatre’s Director, Scott Ramsay. This year it’s The Nutcracker, the story of Clara and the strange magician Drosselmeyer. Over at the Kings Theatre, Aladdin boasts an ambitious “magical flying carpet” (11 Dec-5 Jan). Groundlings Theatre’s Jack and the Beanstalk sees another visit from its favourite – and very vocal – “vegetable fairy” (4 Dec-5 Jan). And finally, Curtain Call theatre group brings a “hearty” rendition of Treasure Island to the Pyramids (26-31 Dec).


Festive Fairs and Markets

The big German-style Portsmouth Christmas Market is back on Commercial Road, complete with its “giant walk-in Bauble” and ever-familiar smell of sizzling sausages (16 Nov-29 Dec). While Port Solent Festival of Christmas is a one-off event with some 90 stalls (7-8 Dec).

A new local charity, Landport Inter Activ for people with mild to moderate learning difficulties and disabilities, asked us to specially mention that it has its Christmas Fair on the 8 Dec at its Charles Street headquarters, with raffle, tombola, craft area for the children, and offering festive gifts.


Seasonal High Teas

The newly splendified Queens Hotel in Southsea is rather a nice place to pass a cold winter’s afternoon. Seek out its festive high tea (thru Dec). For a loftier take, the Spinnaker Tower Clouds Café is also doing special Christmas high teas, all through this month. 


Feeling festive and sporty?

Guildhall’s “new-look” ice rink now has a canopy for skating even when it rains, as indeed it did rather a lot last year… (until 5 Jan). Portsmouth RNLI Santa Fun Run includes the “Naughty Elves Mile and Doggy Dash” alongside all sorts of fitness and festive entertainments, Lakeside North Harbour (7-8 Dec).


Christmas concerts

Milton Glee Choir Christmas Concert with the Royal Marines Association Concert Band come to Portsmouth Guildhall for a Sunday afternoon (8 Dec). while Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performs their Last Night of the Christmas Proms at the Guildhall (22 Dec). The Anglican Cathedral has two candlelit Christmas Carol Services (21 and 22 Dec). St Mary’s Portsea, meanwhile, performs its very popular Carol Service for local schoolchildren on 9 Dec.

Sarah Jeffries Glossy Magazine no.22 (2019)


Art Galleries

And finally, just in time for Christmas presents for fellow Culture Vultures, have a look at Jack House Gallery’s new show ‘People Pictures’ – Kevin Dean, Sarah Jeffries & Michael Bartlett (6 Dec-12 Jan).  


Cathy at Saturn by Mike Bartlett



Kevin Dean – editor of this very magazine – is also a professional artist and acted as unofficial painter in residence at this year’s ‘Victorious’ festival. Kevin produced a series of works that capture the milling crowds on Southsea Common over the August Bank Holiday weekend. His works are showing alongside Sarah Jeffries’ reconstructed photographs from fashion and lifestyle magazines, and Michael Bartlett’s series of small reportage paintings of people at gallery private views.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, Events

The Omega Art School

Date: December 2nd, 2019

art class southsea

Have you always wanted to paint and draw?

Whether you are a complete beginner or a more experienced artist, now is the time to join our new, weekly art classes.

Morning, afternoon and evening classes available, starting w/c 20th April until July.

Your tutors: Kevin Dean, Jacqui Mair, Sadie Tierney and Chris Wood are all professional artists and experienced tutors



Everyone welcome, but class sizes are limited, so please email: or call Kevin Dean: 07981 867826 without delay for a detailed programme and booking details. 

 Omega Centre  2 Omega Street  Southsea PO5 4LP

Facebook- TheOmegaArtSchool


Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Red Box Project helps girls across the world

Date: November 4th, 2019

Words by Kate Thompson

A project to ensure every girl has access to sanitary wear has led to a change in the law in the UK, and raised awareness across the globe. Joint founder of The Red Box Project is Anna Miles, a teacher at Mayville High School in Southsea, told us all about it.


How did The Red Box Project start and why? 

In March 2017, myself and three friends founded The Red Box Project. This followed reports in the media which exposed the connection between young women missing out on their education for the same amount of time, every month. The connection was then made that for some young people, access to menstrual products was not available to them and in many cases, this led to students deciding not to attend school because of the shame and embarrassment they felt. 

How successful have you been? 

As soon as we launched, we received emails from all over the world.  Together, we now have over 5,300 active red boxes, including every secondary and primary state school in our founding city; an incredible achievement by our Portsmouth volunteer coordinator, Rebecca Cave.

What have you achieved so far? 

We have affected real change in fighting for the rights of our young people through the recent announcement from our government in England to provide the support we have been delivering, from early next year. This is something which fills us with a huge amount of pride. Governments in England, Wales, and Scotland have made this commitment and so, whilst our projects based in the UK are beginning to slow down operation, we will remain open for our projects based overseas who are still fighting for this change. 

What is your legacy? 

Standing up and fighting for equality can lead to real change. Our volunteer coordinators have worked unbelievably hard, on the ground, to make a difference, and they really and truly have. 

Pic: Anna Miles

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Professor turned DJ

Date: November 4th, 2019

Maricar Jagger, Events Officer at The University of Portsmouth

“My 17 year old self probably wouldn’t believe that I would one day become a professor,” said Sam Warren when asked about her inaugural lecture which will be held at the University of Portsmouth in November.

Pic: Sam Warren

Born in St Mary’s Hospital, Sam grew up in Fratton. After quitting college at 17, she spent ten years working at various retail, sales and marketing jobs, got married and had two children before she found her calling through education. Sam took A Levels at night school when her youngest son was only 3 months old. Aged 26 Sam went on to do a degree in Business Studies at the University of Portsmouth as a mature student. She was given a free nursery place at Milldam and a small grant that made everything possible. 

Inspired by the support and teaching she received, she achieved a first class honours before winning a scholarship to do her PhD. After her first lecturing job at Portsmouth she moved to Surrey, where in the space of two and a half years, she won two research grants and was promoted to Reader. She took up her first Professorship in Management at the University of Essex before moving to Cardiff University as a Professor in 2015. 

But it’s love that has brought her back to Portsmouth – her partner, whom she met through mutual friends, lives in Portchester – and after 3 years of commuting along the M4, she jumped at the chance to go back home when a Professorial post was advertised last year. Though she was sad to leave Cardiff, the universe clearly had it all mapped out for Sam. 

“Portsmouth gave me so much as a junior researcher, and now it’s my turn to pay that back.” 

Sam has always been interested in researching interesting and unusual aspects of management. Today, she is a leading researcher of organizational aesthetics, and is currently investigating female electronic music producers’ careers, while learning to produce music herself. Why women? Only 2% of music producers are women according to the most reliable statistics in the U.S., and at the recent Beatport Top 100 chart, she counted a whole 6 tracks by women.

She’s really passionate about what she does. A long-time raver she recently learned to DJ (under the name of Dovetail).

“I admire every single woman who has the guts to put herself out there in a male dominated industry and just do it.”  

When not researching, or making music, Sam is addicted to property shows on television. “A Place in the Sun is my surefire go-to when I need to switch off from reality!” said this person who practices what her artist friend Beatriz calls ‘Bonito Living’ – finding the joy and beauty in the everyday. 

Her favourite place is Eastney beach and the Coffee Cup. “Letting Eastney go back to nature, and the general smartening up of the seafront and pier is the best thing the City has done while I’ve been away!” 

To find more about Sam’s Leverhulme Trust funded project, ‘In the Key of She’, and other public events at the University of Portsmouth, go to

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Finding a Greener Way

Date: November 4th, 2019

Words: John Worsey

It’s been another long, hot summer on the Costa del Portsmouth. And from record breaking temperatures in the UK, to natural disasters around the world, and the success of Greta Thunberg in igniting global debates about the future, it seems a majority of people (though sadly not President Trump) are united in the certainty that climate change is real – and action must be taken! 

Naturally, more and more of us are getting hot and bothered about the decline of our beautiful world. We’re desperate to make a difference. To do something positive, not sink into despair. One such group locally is The Package Free Larder. Over the summer, they successfully raised £43,765 through crowd-funding, to open a plastic-free supermarket and zero-waste hub. 

The Larder team are volunteers. They’ll run the supermarket as a social enterprise, with profits reinvested in the shop and community projects. The idea originated with Delphine Laveyne, who envisaged “somewhere people could find everyday staples with no unnecessary packaging, at affordable prices.”

Delphine is passionate about resisting “pointless packaging – the type that ends up in the bin as soon as you get back from the supermarket. It’s used for 5 minutes but stays on the planet for 500 years.” 

So, how does a packaging-free shop work? “To start, customers will be encouraged to bring their own containers to fill and refill. Then, we’ll work with suppliers to see if we can find alternatives to the plastic packaging products are delivered in. We’ll also teach people skills to help them reduce their waste and cook from scratch.”

The Larder team are not alone. Across Southsea you’ll find a host of businesses offering produce either free of excess packaging, in recycled and recyclable plastic, or in refillable form. Ron White’s Greengrocers, Southsea Fruit & Veg, Buckwell’s Butchers, Viviers Fishmarket  Wild Thyme Wholefoods, Southsea Coffee, Southsea Deli, Southsea Bathing Hut  – to name just a few. 

It’s great that shoppers want to do their bit for the environment. But it’s important not to take the weight of the world on your shoulders. Especially because going green can come with shades of grey! For example… 

Throw away your single-use plastic drinks bottle and it will spend centuries as harmful litter before it degrades. But in rural areas of developing nations, without piped drinking water, those bottles can be the difference between life and death. 

Buy a reusable cotton tote bag for shopping, and you’ll be reducing the demand for throw-away plastic bags. But the emissions created in the manufacture and shipping of cotton totes are so much higher, you’ll need to use it thousands of times to compensate! 

Of course, plastic has some environmental advantages over other materials – from its emission-friendly light weight, to the recyclability of many types. Its durability and potential for re-use can ease the burden on landfill. It reduces waste by extending products’ shelf-life, and protects public health by keeping germs from foods, cosmetics, medicines and surgical equipment. So you can change your relationship to plastic without having to get a divorce! 

Like climate change itself, figuring out your response to it can feel overwhelming. The most empowering thing is to educate yourself and make choices that are sustainable. Stop eating meat altogether? Never make another journey by plane… or car? Those activities impact hugely on carbon emissions. But maybe you can’t go cold turkey like that (or, indeed, turkey-free). Don’t make perfect the enemy of good. Instead, place limits that work for you.

Delphine suggests, “Sign up to and drop your food waste off to someone with a compost bin, or register to collect other people’s compost for your own. Talk about reducing waste and the benefits of this with your colleagues, bosses, school teachers. A lot of the times if you see they can do things a different way that avoids waste at minimal or no cost, they will implement these changes. We should all help each other to reduce our waste.”

Ultimately, living more sustainably is about kindness. It’s about being kinder to our planet and its resources. So let’s be kind to ourselves, too. Let’s seek balance and make changes we can stick to. Start with a visit to one of the many local businesses doing their bit to reduce single-use plastic – and look out for the Package Free Larder, which hopes to open by early 2020.  

If you’d like to find out more about Plastic Free Larder’s volunteering opportunities, find them on Facebook. 

Posted in: Articles, Environment