Artists Cottages

Artists’ Cottages provide guests with unique self-catering accommodation in the delightful spa town of Harrogate, perfectly placed for enjoying a rich array of beauty, culture and entertainment, not to mention the Yorkshire Dales.

The interiors of the five Artists’ Cottages have been exquisitely designed and equipped by art lovers George and Marie-Therese Hardy, helped by their daughter, Joanna. Rated as highly comfortable and well appointed 4 Star accommodation, the properties demonstrate contemporary good taste and careful thought in every detail, from the handmade soft furnishings to the original artwork.

We at Living in the Shires magazine are now delighted to give them an Award of Excellence as our Accommodation of the Year in Harrogate.

Everything in the cottages is of excellent quality, including their smart TVs, Nespresso machines, crisp linen, log burners and kitchen appliances. The properties are redecorated every year and the family ensure that everything is welcoming, warm and ready for the guests from the moment they walk in.

Marie-Therese says: “We’re thrilled with the award and greatly looking forward to looking after our guests in 2019.

“There’s so much going on in Harrogate, it really is a fantastic destination in itself. The town has a spa and Turkish baths, theatre, museums, art galleries, great bars and restaurants, lovely shops and an ever-changing programme of live arts, exhibitions and cultural events.”

Contact details:

Artists’ Cottages,

Harrogate, Yorkshire

Tel 07801 741 807


Red Lion Cunningham

It may be cold outside, but diners can always find great food and bonhomie at the Red Lion, Hunningham. This gem of pub/restaurant in the Warwickshire countryside exudes good vibes as visitors tuck into the treats to come from an imaginative European menu with a tasty smattering of French-inspired cuisine.

In summer months, the Red Lion’s spacious, sun kissed garden is a magnet for diners, especially because of its position next to the River Leam. In winter it is just as welcoming indoors in traditional pub premises remade for a relaxed modern public.

People come from many miles away to enjoy the a la carte offerings which look as good as they taste, thanks to French chef/owner Richard Merand, his head chef, Adrian Lobo and their skilful team. Everything is freshly cooked from high quality ingredients sourced as locally as possible at this family friendly venue.

On the season menu, classics such as fish & chips and burgers sit alongside roast tuna and guinea fowl. French leanings show in the charcuterie sharing platter, fried Camembert and cassoulet of Toulouse sausage, chorizo, butter beans and confit of duck. Steaks including an 18 oz British Chateaubriand are ‘Jospered’ in a charcoal grill for smoky moreishness. Desserts may prove irresistible for many, among them banana tart tatin, diverse sorbets and ice creams and apple & black cherry crumble with custard.

On Sundays, the Red Lion serves up wonderful roast dinners with a choice of silverside beef, chicken, pork belly or goat’s cheese nut roast.

We at Living in the Shires magazine were delighted to present the Red Lion with an Award of Excellence for Good Food and name it our Restaurant of the Year 2019. Richard said: “This is great. We have a very good staff of dedicated young people.”

Contact details:

Red Lion,

Hunningham near Leamington Spa,

Warwickshire CV33 9DY

Tel 01926 632715


Kelly’s Crystal Shop

Visiting Kelly’s Crystal Shop is not so much about shopping as taking a spiritual journey to explore the invisible energies of the universe. This attractive, independently owned business in the heart of Atherstone is a treasure trove of natural, shaped or polished crystals, fossils, oracles, fragrant oils, candles, joss sticks, jewellery, mystical reading material and holistic items including food supplements and reputable legal CBD (cannabis oil) products.

Many items in the ever-evolving range make delightful gifts, and with the help of owner Kelly Staten, they have potential to benefit people’s overall well-being. We at Living in the Shires magazine are delighted to present Kelly with our Award of Excellence for Crystal Business of the Year.

Kelly herself is a devotee of the items she has sold, having used them to great effect in her own life since being struck down with a terrifying illness at the age of 19. Shocked by how little support was available outside the NHS she taught herself about alternative therapies, using them for her own and other people’s well-being.

At 21 she launched her business and now she is in the 16th year of trading, having constantly expanded and developed her own expertise and in the process also become a reiki teacher.

“I have a really acute sense of energy with people and many do use me for spiritual guidance,” says Kelly. “This is something I offer free of charge. I may help them to choose a crystal for a particular purpose, or they can book in with me for crystal and oracle readings or reiki. It is totally individual for each person.”

“When I started out in the shop people thought I was mad because it was the start of the recession, but it has been a lovely journey. I’ve been blown away by it!

Contact details:

Kelly’s Crystal Shop,

64 Long Street,

Atherstone CV9 1AU

Tel 01827 711458


Hannah Silversmith

If you’re celebrating something extra special this year and searching for a keepsake to match the occasion, turn to Hannah Silversmith! This artisan jewellery business specialises in making enchanting one-off pieces bespoke for individual customers, helping them capture the magic of the moment for all time, whether it be a wedding, a birth, or perhaps a milestone anniversary.

Owner Hannah Smith has been creating jewellery to her own designs since 1994, frequently inspired by nature or fantastical folklore. Now Living in the Shires magazine is delighted to present her with our 2019 Award of Excellence for Jewellery Designing Business of the Year and to commend her work to our readers.

Each piece made by this talented silversmithing and jewellery graduate is hand crafted and unique, drawing on both her professional skills and a rich imagination.

When making pieces on commission, Hannah takes great care to absorb not only the material aspects her customers want incorporating but also the personal story they wish to convey and their mood, whether it be love, awe or triumph. The finished pieces may be rings, brooches or other forms of wearable art and may upcycle older jewellery. They all express deep and heartfelt feeling.

“I love creating something precious just for them,” she says, “Something they will always treasure.”

Non-commissioned items made by Hannah Silversmith may be part of a limited edition themed collection, such as insects, geodes or the current coastal one featuring seagulls and their bird’s eye landscape views. All pieces are hallmarked and on sale through the website

In addition to producing her own work, Hannah enjoys teaching her craft to other people in evening classes at The Hive in Loughborough, as she has done for the past 15 years.

“It’s very rewarding teaching people the skills to bring their own designs into being,” she says.

Contact details:

Hannah Silversmith,

146 Ashby Road Loughborough,

Leicestershire, LE11 3AF

Tel 07436 006112,


Hatty Boots

If you haven’t yet found your perfect Christmas cards yet, don’t panic. The online retailer Hatty Boots has a fantastic collection for you to peruse, including enchanting designs never yet seen in the high street stores. Order now and you can still have them written and posted before the Royal Mail delivery deadlines.

Hatty Boots is a specialist in selling quality greeting cards for all occasions, always processing sales orders with utmost efficiency. The company has won this magazine’s Award of Excellence as our Greeting Card Business of the Year.

Owners John and Diane Wakefield have selected nearly 1000 cards covering every occasion from new arrivals to anniversary and all the celebrations in between. Many customers buy several blank cards at a time to be used for different occasions. The range of blank cards is extensive, so the buyer can choose a design and write their own words appropriate for each occasion. The humorous cards range from the likes of Punch and Spike Milligan to Jamie Charteris and Oliver Lake’s comical animals.

Hatty Boots particularly like to support small independent artists and publishers, giving a public platform for their eye-catching, unusual and often truly beautiful images.

Contemporary artists featured in the collection include Amanda Clarke, with richly coloured, detailed pictures inspired by folklore, myth and magical landscapes; Lucy

Pittaway’s with cheerful rural scenes and some very appealing sheep, and Oliver Lake, majoring on comical animals. Also, Nikky Corker, Angie Spurgeon and Kate Andrew all have distinctive designs linked to country living.

John and Diane also take the environment strongly into consideration when choosing

suppliers, ensuring their card is from sustainably managed woodlands certified under the Forest Stewardship Council and have a high recycled content.

“Most of our cards are eco-friendly, having a high amount of recycled paper (or coffee cup) content and the envelopes are 100% recyclable,” says John. “Together with the use of alcohol-free print, vegetable-based inks and corn-starch outer wrappers a very low or even zero carbon footprint is achieved.”

Hatty Boots often visit trade fairs, exhibitions and specialist events to find the very best artists and publishers that are available in the UK.

Contact details:

Hatty Boots


Brook Meadow

As 2018 draws to a close there’s just time for a rejuvenating Christmas get-away and Brook Meadow is just the place.  This idyllic holiday site has three chic, centrally heated lakeside lodges and well serviced camping & caravanning pitches which offer year-round peace and tranquillity in idyllic Leicestershire countryside. A sumptuous safari-style glamping tent is also available April to October.

Family-run Brook Meadow is a 400 acre working farm where guests can relax among woodland, pasture and a large fishing lake which is a magnet for wildlife. Situated in Sibbertoft, near Market Harborough, the accommodation has earned this magazine’s Award of Excellence as our Retreat of the Year 2019. It has also been shortlisted for the Visit England Go Leicestershire regional finals for most enjoyable stay, self catering.

Christmas guests will find a festive hamper waiting, while local towns and villages have many charming seasonal events on their calendars. Welford Christmas Tree Farm even has some of Santa’s reindeer staying until December 17.

Available for stays of three nights or more, the boutique lodges overlook the lake and are impeccably furnished and equipped, combining comfort, cosiness and an unbeatable sense of freedom.

Contemporary good taste is evident in every corner, from the nature-themed décor to the glowing fires. Each lodge sleeps four people in a double and twin bedroom. Two also have a double sofa bed. All have a spacious bathroom, a kitchen with fridge, microwave and oven, living area with TV, DAB radio, Wi-fi and veranda with outdoor seating.

Lake views may well include owls, bats, kingfishers, the resident swans and some enormous carp, tench and perch. The site is environmentally friendly and constantly evolves to foster wildlife conservation.

The campsite has modern toilets, showers, laundry facilities and firepits. Many pitches have electric hook-ups.

Children love playing in the pirate-themed play area and collecting eggs from the roaming hens. Brook Meadow was founded by Jasper and Mary Hart and is run by their daughter, Claire, an architect and interior designer who masterminded the lodge interiors from  botanical wallpapers to the bird in flight-like light fittings.

“I believe being next to water has a great impact on health and wellbeing, strengthening the connection to the natural world and one another,” says Claire.  “The interiors of our lakeside retreats bring the outside in through design, with botanical references wherever you look, to enhance the very real benefits of holidaying next to water.”

Contact details:

Brook Meadow,

Welford Road,


Market Harborough,

Leicestershire LE16 9UJ

Tel 01858 880886


Now & Then

Skilled craftsmanship turns reclaimed wood into unique pieces of quality modern furniture at Now & Then, a business which links a passionate regard for green credentials with a bespoke service for customers.

Carpenter Raphael Douglas loves the challenge and inventiveness of recycling old wood into functional modern furniture by combining it with epoxy resin and industrial metals, creating contrast between old and new materials. The business, which he runs with his partner, Samantha Shields, now wins this magazine’s Award of Excellence as our Bespoke Furniture Maker of the Year.

With a workshop and showroom in Leicester, Raphael makes a full range of furniture including dining sets, coffee tables, desks, chests of drawers and cabinets. He loves taking customers’ commissions for items made to their own specifications, perhaps made in oak, ash, walnut, tulip or pine, sometimes even transforming their own previously used wood.

Alongside furniture Raphael makes home accessories such as reclaimed wooden wall art, framed mirrors, hand turned bowls and boxes of all sizes, which make excellent gifts for Christmas or other occasions. He also makes a big selection of purpose-made Christmas decorations, which can be seen on Etsy as well as in the showroom.

Hand making every item, Raphael uses the traditional craft skills of furniture construction such as mortice and tenant joints or dovetail joints. Now & Then also transforms ready made furniture bought from auctions and other second-hand sources, turning it ‘shabby chic’ with special paints and artistry.

Raphael says: “Trees are the lungs of the earth and I really struggle with the way they are cut down in such great numbers these days. Then, when an item is finished, it often ends up in landfill, which is a real waste.

“I try to use as much old wood as I can.”

Contact details:

Now & Then

93 King Richards Road

Leicester LE3 5QG

Tel 0116 319 0900 or 07465 209379


Mia Bella Designs

Small, medium and start-up businesses are enjoying the benefits of high quality websites with affordable price tags thanks to the WordPress wizardry of Mia Bella Designs.

This innovative business works with clients to create their bespoke websites which help them get noticed and attract business from the outset. Unusually, it does so with the option of affordable monthly payments secured with a modest deposit, so even sole traders at the beginning of the self-employment journey can set out with a professionally polished ‘window to the world’.

We at Living in the Shires magazine are now delighted to present Mia Bella Designs with our Award of Excellence as Web Design Service of the Year in our 2019 Small Business Awards.

Mia Bella Designs works with both new and established companies to help them start off with slick, eye-catching websites which are easy to navigate. They are made using the well-honed skills and creative abilities of company principal Tracy Barlow, a graphic artist with considerable experience of web design, development and remodelling.

Each site is individually designed and always includes a Content Management System enabling clients to quickly update information themselves. Alternatively, clients can arrange for Mia Bella Designs to carry out regular site maintenance and updating.

Sites can be made compatible with any media device and Mia Bella can also arrange web hosting and domain packages.

Each month people working in one sphere of activity can benefit from big discounts on their initial outlay. This November the promotion will apply to technology and in December to property. Check the website monthly to find what follows.

Tracy is thrilled with her award and says: “I love helping people achieve their dreams and the websites help them do that,” she says. “A lot of my business now comes from word of mouth.”

Contact details:

Mia Bella Designs

Reading, Berkshire

Tel 07585 608626


Millies Forever Floral

Homes are brighter and gardens revitalised thanks to one woman’s passion for plants and the two businesses it has created.

Millies Forever Floral is an exceptional floristry service which provides stunning arrangements for every occasion and wins this magazine’s Award of Excellence as our Florist of the Year for 2018. Alongside it runs Millies Garden Design, able to transform the most unpromising spaces into thriving areas of beauty.

Running the two from her home in Market Harborough is Carol Innes-Robbins, delighted to be working day in day out with the things she loves best. Frequently she is helped by her charming dog Millie, the cockapoo after whom the businesses are named.

The floristry business provides bespoke arrangements for every occasion from weddings to corporate events, always using the freshest possible flowers. With Christmas approaching Carol is taking orders for people to have their houses dressed for the season, with delightful floral designs in spaces such as nooks, crannies and fireplaces, on tables, doors and bannisters, often with a festive fragrance.

Simultaneously, she is able to take on the transformation of people’s gardens from whatever state they are in and create entirely new looks which will provide pleasure year on year and improve with age through her ongoing maintenance, flair and attention. Carol can also provide garden care while people are away from home.

Contact details:

Millies Forever Floral

Market Harborough

Tel 07738 003898


Boatside Inn

Northumberland offers many attractions for visitors right through the year and The Boatside Inn near Hexham is perfectly placed for enjoying them, from the Roman remains of Hadrian’s Wall on the doorstep to the gorgeous Heritage Coast.

The Boatside Inn is a welcoming country pub providing excellent food and drink, 4 Star purpose built bed & breakfast accommodation and two self catering cottages in the delightful village of Warden. This magazine was recently delighted to present it with an Award of Excellence as our Accommodation of the Year in Hexham and ownr Matt Cawood said: “That’s a great testament to the hard work of our staff.”

The Boatside takes pride in serving food which is high quality, locally sourced and freshly prepared. It has an extensive menu and most bed & breakfast guests find it meets all their needs, whether for a light lunch or a celebration dinner. The locals are convivial, the atmosphere is cosy and the venue is surrounded by great walking and cycling country.

There is world famous salmon and trout fishing on the North and South Tyne Rivers which converge outside and several National Trust properties including Alnwick Castle stay open all year.

“There’s plenty to explore and you’ll find a roaring fire and wholesome food to enjoy at the end of a cold day,” says Matt.

Contact details:

The Boatside Inn,



Northumberland NE46 4SQ

Tel 01434 602233


Buccleuch Arms

Fabulous food is one of the key attractions of the Buccleuch Arms, an 1836 coaching inn offering 4 Star holiday accommodation in the heart of the Scottish Borders.  Its reputation has spread nationwide thanks to having been named Scottish Inn of the Year 4 times in 10 years and having captured the accolade for Best Breakfast this year and last in the Scottish Hotel Awards.

Run by Billy and Rachael Hamilton, who are both from farming families, the Buccleuch Arms excels in preparing Britain’s finest and freshest food to exacting standards and serving it exquisitely. That applies whether at breakfast – where Eggs Benedict is a favourite order – at lunch in the bar or at dinner in the Blue Coo Bistrot.

Accommodation is all high quality in 19 well-furnished en suite bedrooms including doubles, twins and family rooms. The beds have been chosen for superior comfort and in some rooms are king sized. Customer service is a high priority throughout the hotel.

Special deals are available combining a stay at the Buccleuch Arms with local golf, clay shooting or horse racing. Throughout winter guests can enjoy three nights for the price of two.

“We get all sorts of people including sightseeing tourists, sporting tourists, cyclists, walkers and foodies,” says Billy. ”Floors Castle and Abbotsford are popular attractions. There’s loads to do.”

Contact details:

The Buccleuch Arms

The Green,

St Boswells,

Melrose TD6 OEW

Tel 01835 822243


Rothley Fisheries

Rothley Fisheries is going from strength to strength after being taken over by new owners last year. Customers love the friendly, pleasant service as much as the great food in this take away and its sit-down restaurant, Time & Plaice.

Recent comments from delighted customers on TripAdvisor include:

“These are the best chip shop chips I have ever had, the seaside doesn’t even compare!”


“Great service, clean and friendly staff, lovely food, even offered extra chips and tea and bread and butter. A perfect meal.”

All the food served at Rothley Fisheries is really fresh, with fish delivered daily straight from the sea and chips processed on the premises.

Rothley Fisheries now wins this magazine’s Award of Excellence for Freshly Prepared Food of the Year.

Owners Andreas and Christie have made their recipes largely gluten free, making lighter, crispier batter for the fish and other products. Although most customers are not coeliac, everybody prefers the taste and texture!

Customers can have their fish cooked in light batter, standard batter, steamed or cooked in rice flour while those using the restaurant can have a choice of choose lemon sole, salmon, cod, haddock or plaice. Restaurant customers are advised to pre-book.

Starting soon, Andreas plans to support the charity Gem’s Cash for Kids, which aims to improve the lives of nearly 170,000 East Midlands children living in poverty. It will be trying to tackle school holiday hunger, following news that for many of these children a school dinner is their only decent meal of the day.

Andreas and Christie say: “We like to give back into the community whenever possible, so we will be having donation boxes in the take away and the restaurant. We also will be dedicating a day in June to the charity and donating all the money from that day’s chip sales.”

Contact details:

Rothley Fisheries

19-20 Cross Green,

Rothley, Leicester LE7 7PF

Tel 0116 230 2009

Facebook @RothleyFisheries

Russell Francis

Redesigning a room or furnishing a complete new home is an absolute joy for customers of Classic Interiors, Nuneaton. They frequently browse for hours, not just because of the stunning range of furniture, carpets, curtains and accessories on show but also because of the relaxed atmosphere created by friendly staff with expert knowledge of the products and possibilities.

Classic Interiors can deliver anything its customers want, including furniture made bespoke to their own preferences, adjusted for height, depth, width and softness. The company now wins this magazine’s Award of Excellence as our Furniture Specialist of the Year.

Classic Interiors is owned by Graham Lewis. With nearly 30 years’ experience of the home interiors business, Graham and his team take pride in providing customers with a thoroughly pleasant shopping experience.

The 14,000 square feet showroom is packed with furniture collections for the lounge, dining room and bedroom, including sumptuous suites, dining sets and occasional furniture. The selection is arranged in more than 40 room settings, featuring the latest products from quality manufacturers. There are numerous fabric choices for curtains and upholstery to be made to order.

Home visits can be arranged to assist with design and there is never any pressure on people to buy at Classic Interiors. When they do buy, however, they can expect an exemplary and stress-free delivery service.

Graham says: “If people are having a complete room make-over our carpet fitters go first, followed by the curtain fitters, then the suite arrives. We unwrap it, put it in place and take the packaging away. We even lift the old carpets and get the room prepared

“We major on service and quality, not just price. Our motto is: “The answer is ‘Yes’. What’s the question?”

Contact details:

Classic Interiors

Weddington Road,

Nuneaton, CV10 0AD

Tel 01246 349220

Penny Price

Penny Price Aromatherapy is a company dedicated to making people look and feel fabulous. Now those great feelings have bounced right back in through its doors! The company which specialises in making health and well being products with essential oils and training aromatherapists was named East Midlands Chamber Enterprising Women Small Business of the Year in March.

Now we at Living in the Shires magazine are now delighted to add our own Award of Excellence to the company for Pure Essential Oil Products of Year.

The company has a team of 22 people based in Hinckley. Company Principal Penny Price said: “We were thrilled to get the Small Business award in March and now we are delighted to receive this award on top. We are feeling very pleased with ourselves!”

Penny Price Aromatherapy products are all based on the finest quality essential oils.

Many are designed to enhance people’s natural beauty, especially the Illuminous all natural range of 16 luxurious products covering everything from cleansing routines to anti-ageing treatments that really work.

Penny’s personal favourite is Picture Perfect. “I love it,” she says. “You put it on and all those fine lines disappear. It gives a really good base for applying make up and makes you picture perfect!”

Others, like those in the Nurture range, help to restore good health throughout the family. Divided into Nurture Mummy, Nurture Daddy and Nurture Baby, they can be rubbed in as a cream, sprayed in a vaporiser or swished in a bath.

Within the Nurture range are products which help soothe and correct skin conditions, aid healthy sleep, calm stress and ease pain. The most popular, Aches Away cream, uses sweet orange, cypress, lavender and black pepper oils to relieve tired limbs and everyday aches and pains.

Check the range at

Contact details:

Penny Price Aromatherapy

Unit D3 Radius Court, Maple Drive,

Hinckley LE10 3DB

Tel 01455 458099 or 0844 8844 966


Majac Gallery

People who enjoy hunting for antiques and collectibles are delighted to have discovered the Majac Gallery in Loughborough, offering an ever changing range of keenly priced quality goods in a spacious, comfortable shopping environment.

The Majac Gallery wins an Award of Excellence in this magazine’s Independent Business Awards, becoming our Antiques & Collectibles Shop of the Year.

Opened by owners Jackie and Marilyn in 2017, the Majac Gallery offers people the kind of shopping they simply can’t get online. In the two storey shop customers can take their time as they browse a large range of items of the sort normally found only at antique fairs and auctions. These include antique furniture, fine tableware, hand crafted silverware and figures, vintage accessories and items for the home and collectible ceramics including an extensive range, especially Art Deco in general and Moorcroft in particular.

“Everything we sell is good quality,” says Jackie, “Including Royal Doulton, Royal Crown Derby and Royal Worcester. We have launched a website to help people find us but really we want people to come and see our gallery, to pick things up, touch them and walk away with their purchases feeling that they have had an enjoyable experience.”

Contact details:

Majac Gallery

7 Churchgate Mews,


Leicestershire LE11 1TZ

Tel 01509 230929 or 07597 814260


New Farm Firewood

After the December snowfall of 2017 we all remember how important it is to keep warm! For anyone with a traditional open fire or wood burning stove, let me recommend that you stock up on logs from New Farm Firewood at Cadeby, near Market Bosworth.

You may think logs are logs and there’s nothing more to it, but in that case you’ve never made do with wood that takes an age to light and then spits, splutters and sends sparks on to your carpet!

From New Farm Firewood customers receive only the best, premium quality, kiln dried hardwood logs and kindling. Not only that, but it comes only from sustainably managed forests.

We took a delivery of New Farm logs just before Christmas. Because they were so thoroughly seasoned they lit like a dream and burned cleanly and quietly, providing masses of heat, lots of atmosphere and zero drama.

Ordering was easy, delivery was quick and we’ll definitely be re-ordering from New Farm again next time.

Contact details:

New Farm Firewood

Tel. 01455 299911

Taylor Stephens Beauty

Roll back the years in 2018 with powerful and painless anti-ageing treatments from Taylor Stephenson Beauty, a new and fabulous unisex salon helping people of all ages look and feel fantastic.

Run by Laura Taylor-Stephenson, a beautician of 12 years’ experience, in Hinckley, this exquisite town centre salon offers a full range of treatments including skin treatments, facial enhancements, tanning, waxing, nails and make up, all delivered in a wonderfully pleasant environment and to the highest standards.

After being one of our ‘tried & tested’ businesses lasts month, we’re delighted to announce that this first class salon is now this magazine’s 2018 Award of Excellence winner for Anti Ageing Treatments of the Year.

The premium anti-ageing treatment is the Icon Ultra Lift, not only for the face but for the whole body. The Icon Ultra Lift is a regenerating treatment designed to lift the skin, restore muscle tone and revitalise the skin surface. Amazingly, it does this without any surgery, injections or discomfort at all. Instead, it uses electronic pulses to deliver clinically graded products gently into the face, neck or other treatment areas with a specialised machine. As well a winding back the signs of ageing it also prevents deterioration.

Laura says: “The Icon Ultra Lift treatment is actually very relaxing and you can see a visible difference after the very first treatment. However, to obtain the optimum results we recommend you have a course of treatments and monthly top up sessions. After a course of 10 treatments you will see a massive difference! It treats general wear and tear, wrinkles, sagging, loss of collagen … Customers are always extremely pleased with the results!”

Clients who have skin difficulties of any kind can greatly benefit from visiting Taylor Stephenson Beauty. The salon’s Diamond Peel microabrasion treatments are especially good for dealing with fine wrinkles and blemishes such as age spots, while the LED Light Therapy is excellent for tackling troublesome conditions like teenage active acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.

The salon offers premium make up treatments for all those special events like weddings and award ceremonies, including semi-permanent make up, high definition brows, microblading and aesthetics.

Whatever your skin issues you can be sure Taylor Stephenson Beauty will make them better! Pop in now for a private consultation about your beautiful way forward.

Contact details:

Taylor Stephenson Beauty

130 Castle Street,

Hinckley, LE10 1DD

Tel 01455 644246,


Didi Rugby

Children as young as 18 months are getting a sporting start to their future healthy lives thanks to didi Rugby, a fabulously fun coaching programme created by ex-England rugby international Vicky Macqueen.

PE teacher Vicky started didi Rugby to get her own two children active in sport when they were aged 18 months and three years. Now the young Macqueens have graduated from didi level to Hinckley Under 6s and numerous other children aged 18 months to 6 years are learning the same healthy habits and skills as they did through the growing network of didi classes.

This excellent enterprise now gains the Living in the Shires magazine Award of Excellence for our Tried & Tested Activity of the Year 2018.

didi Rugby started in summer 2015 after Vicky gained a level 3 coaching qualification, devised the course and started some classes local to Hinckley, where she worked.

Now they are going from strength to strength. Using rugby as the inspiration, the children have fun getting fit, grow up with exercise as a habit and learn a whole lot of things about numbers, colours, healthy attitudes and sporty skills like balance, co-ordination, teamwork and nifty footwork.

Vicky sees it as a way to raise an active, healthy nation and word is spreading fast! didi Rugby now has 45 classes at different venues around Leicestershire and the Midlands and six didi Rugby franchises nationwide including Wales. didi Rugby has even gone abroad,  with classes running in Australia and New Zealand

All the classes are taught by qualified coaches who are part of the didi family led by Vicky, who gained 34 caps for England before giving up her international career.

“The magazine award is really great for the coaches, who have put loads of effort in,” says Vicky. “I’m really proud of them.”

Contact details:

didi Rugby

Vicky Macqueen

Tel 07812 082375


Lutterworth Cobblers

Lutterworth Cobblers is a shop that has been providing great service to customers for more than 30 years, whether in shoe repairs, watch repairs, locksmithing or other diverse services. Now Living in the Shires magazine is pleased to make an Award of Excellence to this wonderful company for quality and service as our Independent Business of the Year 2018.
Owner Luke Milner grew up learning the trade crafts of Lutterworth Cobblers from his father, working with him at weekends and then full time straight from school. Over the years the business has operated from various different places but for the last seven it has been situated in the heart of lovely Lutterworth. Luke bought it out last year but embraces the same business ethos instilled in him by his father, that of providing quality workmanship and exemplary customer service with a friendly face.
Many customers visit the shop over years to keep their shoes and boots in good repair, not only if they are expensive brands but also if they are well worn but simply too comfortable to lose. Services include new soles and heels, stitching, zip replacement and toe tipping and customers can wait while the work is done if they wish. Lutterworth Cobblers can even build up shoes as a surgical shoemaker would, but without the NHS waiting time.
The shop stocks a wide range of trophies for every purpose, engraving them on the premises. It’s also the place if you need extra keys.
It’s in the centre of Lutterworth, facing the market square and it is also very conveniently situated for drivers, within about a mile of the M1. If you need a job doing, call in now!

Contact details:

Lutterworth Cobblers

2 High Street,


Leicestershire LE17 4AD

Tel 07895 852914



Householders can’t help but groan when they see their double glazing units misted up, anticipating bills for hundreds of pounds to have one replaced. However, if they should be alert enough to call in KDPM Property Group they are likely to find themselves being pleasantly surprised.

KDPM Property Group can frequently replace the glass of a misted up unit without having to replace the whole unit, bringing the cost own to a fraction of what it could have been. Now, Living in the Shires magazine is delighted to present an Award of Excellence to this small, family run business as our Repair Specialist of the Year 2017.

Company owner Karl Martin says: “The repair service is quicker and cheaper than a replacement and if the double glazing frames are sound there’s no need to replace them. That saves me time and the customer money so everybody’s happy. It’s in both our interests.

“It’s the same if someone’s got a broken lock. I had a customer recently who had an old door. To replace that door would have cost about £650 but within a few minutes I was able to track down just the right old-style latch to fix it and for £60 the customer had a perfectly working door again and was delighted.”

KDPM carries out property services including round the clock emergency glass replacement and boarding up when premises have had burglaries or accidents.

It repairs of damaged fascia boards, soffits and guttering and can fit new cladding to smarten up your property, in colours to match your window frames. Often it can often restore the looks of ageing UPVC window and door frames and so save customers the cost of replacing them.

With low overheads, Karl always gives exceptional value. He works all over the Midlands.

Contact details:

KDPM Property Group


Tel 01788 312373

Star Fish

Small businesses have been given freedom to make more money by passing on their time consuming paperwork, procedures and phone calls to Starfish Admin Service.

Starfish Admin Services is an independent company using highly efficient professionals to take on the administrative roles. These are the tasks that are necessary to make a company tick over efficiently but which aren’t necessarily the first passion of the owners, such as updating websites, marketing, managing the company diary and paying staff and taxes.

Starfish Admin gives those owners and self-employed people their time back to concentrate on whatever it is that they do love doing, whatever made them start their business in the first place.

Now Living in the Shires magazine has recognised the value of the Starfish service run by Julia Cheeseman by presenting an Award of Excellence to the company for Admin Services of the Year.

Julia says: “I feel very honoured to receive this award only a year after starting up Starfish and I look forward to giving more of our excellent service to present and future customers.

“Anyone who has a challenge within their business can talk to us and we will find ways to help out, freeing them up to concentrate on what really matters to them.

“We can send their invoices, arrange travel, staff their trade shows and help out when they have an emergency or staff absences. Our services are very flexible and cost effective. We provide skilled professionals to take on admin all over the UK, whether in clients’ company offices, their home or from our own offices. We can be hired for regular help or just occasionally.

“We provide that extra pair of hands that makes all the difference, so your business runs like a dream, not a nightmare.”

Contact details:

Starfish Admin Services

Tel 07514 780025

Gorgeous Touch

Shopping for the home is always fun at Gorgeous Touch, whether you’re spending modestly on a trinket or splashing out on a three piece suite. If you want to add extra sparkle to your Christmas displays, this is where you’ll find exquisite baubles, LED fairies and other decorations.

Living in the Shires magazine is delighted to present Gorgeous Touch with our Award of Excellence for Home Interiors Business of the Year 2017.

Gorgeous Touch has two shops, one which opened in March in the heart of Nuneaton and the other dating from 2011 on a convenient edge of Coventry. Owner Claire Glendinning and her husband, Neil, are constantly sourcing fabulous new items so customers have every reason to keep going back again and again.

Both shops have amazing ranges at competitive prices, including soft furnishings, furniture and accessories such as pictures, mirrors, lamps and fragrant candles. The array includes many designer brands such as Kylie Minogue’s lustrous bedding and if you’re seeking a stand out gift you’ll be truly spoiled for choice.

“Everybody is after something different and we do cater for everybody,” says Claire. “We sell items costing from just a pound or two right up to thousands”

“I’m chuffed to bits with the award. We have worked really hard over the last 6½ years and it’s great to get some recognition.”

Contact details:

Gorgeous Touch,

9 – 11 Hearsall Lane, Spon End,

Coventry CV5 6HF

Tel  02476 344455

and Bond Gate, Nuneaton CV11 4AE,

Tel 02476 716415

Red Lion

Eating out is a pleasure from start to finish at the Red Lion, Hunningham, from stepping inside the recently refurbished premises to picking up the bill and realising what good value it has been.

The Red Lion is an attractive country pub only three miles from Royal Leamington Spa and offering beautifully cooked, high quality fresh food in a delightful setting with friendly service throughout. Now this wonderful food venue wins a Living in the Shires magazine Award of Excellence and comes with our recommendation that you try it out as soon as possible!

French chef Richard Merand uses experience gained from cooking around Europe to devise appealing menus maximising freshness, taste, texture and appeal in everything from a chargrilled special to a seafood treat.

Within the past few months he and his business partner have made the Red Lion a free house so they can offer a wider range of beers and other drinks, either to enjoy on their own in convivial company or to complement a meal.

They have also added some irresistible deals starting this September to ensure that a meal out is never too hard on the pocket, including two for one burger meals on Mondays, kids eating free on Tuesdays and fish, chips and a glass of fizz for £7.90 on Fridays. Sunday lunches are served all day long, providing that traditional meat & veg with none of the washing up afterwards.

The pub has an enormous garden which is highly popular when the sun is shining and is especially popular with families wanting to eat al fresco and enjoy the Warwickshire countryside. When it’s cold or wet, there’s always a cosy atmosphere inside.

“We could use a little more sunshine but even without it we stay pretty busy,” says Richard.

Contact details:

Red Lion

Hunningham near Leamington Spa,

Warwickshire CV33 9DY

Tel 01926 632715

Black Horse

More and more people are discovering the Black Horse in Walcote, Leicestershire, as a modern but traditional place to eat, drink and socialise.

Now the Black Horse is galloping ahead into the sociable late summer making the most of its family friendly garden and now offering a new menu including that most popular of British meals, the Sunday roast.

From August 25 to 28 the Black Horse will be hosting its first ever Gin Festival, presenting an array of some 40 different gins including some very exotic flavours, with live music on the Saturday evening and Sunday.

Most customers who have written reviews on the travel website TripAdvisor have rated the pub ‘excellent’ for food, service and value. Now its reputation is spreading as more people discover its charms.

Last month Living in the Shires magazine was delighted to make an award to this modern venue as a Tried & Tested Place to Eat, praising the tasty choices focussing on moreish starters and chargilled main courses, especially steaks and chicken, with everything freshly made and beautifully served to please the eye as well as the palate.

Licensee Nathan Miles said: “I’m very happy with the award for me and the team. We’ve come on in leaps and bounds and being recognised as a good food pub is great.”

Contact details:

The Black Horse

25 Lutterworth Road,


Leicestershire LE17 4JU

Tel 01455 203371

Facebook @theblackhorsewalcote

Hive Efficiency

Customer satisfaction is always the top priority for The Hive Efficiency Group and now Living in the Shires magazine is proud to announce the company as our Award of Excellence winner for Home Improvement Specialist of the Year.

The Hive Efficiency Group is a family owned home improvement business offering expertise in all aspects of home construction and renovation including damp proofing, insulation, roofing and extensions.

The business was formed by Jonathan Alderson, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, the first 20 from working and managing projects for other people.

“I had seen the good and the bad parts of the industry and I wanted to form a company which incorporated all the good ones,” he said, “Things like no deposits, solid guarantees, transparent pricing and quality workmanship. These things give customers peace of mind when they are having work done.

“The company name comes from the fact that a beehive is a perfectly formed, energy efficient dwelling. What we do is all about energy efficiency and damp proofing and if you take care of those things correctly you will have a perfectly energy efficient home.

“It’s lovely to gain this magazine award as public recognition.”

The Hive Efficiency Group, a member of, uses the best available technology to deal with damp, condensation and insulation including outside rendering. It has near perfect ratings from satisfied customers, who are saving up to 40% on their energy bills because of work carried out by Jonathan and his team.

Contact details:

Vancouver House

111 Hagley Road,


Birmingham, B15 ALB

Tel 0333 577 3306