Flog it!, may be no more – in terms or recommissioning at least. But fans and antique lovers need not fret, for Wiltshire resident and Swindon enthusiast will soon be back on your screens with his new show: Curiosity.
Curiosity is a competitive format which puts contestants’ knowledge of antiques and collectables to the test. In each episode two teams of two will move from room to room, using their skills, expertise and intuition to take on different tasks and challenges – all against the clock.
Paul and his wife Charlotte dreamed up the initial idea.
Paul, who lives in Wiltshire with Charlotte and their children Dylan and Meredith, said: ‘This show is the culmination of an idea Charlotte and I came up with at home at our kitchen table.’
‘I always loved any kind of treasure hunt,’ Charlotte Martin said. “Then working on various series myself in television, meeting Paul and being immersed in the world of antiques and collectables I began to think about how we could bring an element of a ‘searching’ together with our mutual love of vintage, quirky and social history into one programme. Gradually the idea of Curiosity took shape and it’s been amazing to see it become a reality.
The pair teamed up with Pete Lawrence, the boss of Bristol-based independent company Hungry Gap Productions to develop the format and bring Curiosity to life.
The programme is set in a series of distinctive rooms including The Den of Antiquity and So Last Century and combines vintage and social history in an entertaining way.
‘Our teams are tasked with finding fakes, spotting links between objects and discovering the fascinating stories behind the kind of trinkets and treasures that cram collectable emporiums and second-hand shops throughout the land,’ Pete said.
‘Paul is a fountain of knowledge and he brings the stories of the objects to life explaining their provenance and unique attributes.’
Paul’s ‘co-presenter’ in the series is a four-legged actor – a Bassett hound named after his own dog: Baxter.
‘Baxter is my mate and my side kick at home. The programme is a bit quirky like him. He’s a proper character and this is his five minutes of fame – sort of. In real life the specially trained stage dog is actually called Maggie! That’s Curiosity for you!’
Curiosity comes to our screens on Monday April 1 at 2.15pm on BBC One and will run weekdays for three weeks.
Listeners! I have grave news for you. No apologies for the pun. I can’t help myself, I can’t stop digging – they’ll be the death of me.
Esteemed Swindon historian, Frances Bevan, has got a new blog. And it promises to be a rather riveting combination of research and fictionalised stories with which Frances will tell the story of Radnor Street Cemetery in Swindon. And, I guess, its inhabitants.
‘Every death touches someone; a husband, a wife, a friend, a lover, a stranger, leaving a mark on history itself. Each of these blogposts begin with the re-imagined stories of that unknown witness and continues with researched facts supported by contemporary accounts. Sources include books, emphemera etc held at Local Studies, Central Library, parish registers, Radnor Street Cemetery burial registers, Wills, census returns and the British Newspaper Archives website.’
So this Beat the Street Swindon challenge sounds like fantastic family fun. Read more about it all below.
Swindon is set to be transformed into a giant game this autumn as thousands of residents compete to see if their school, community or business can walk, run or cycle the furthest.
Running from 12 September to 24 October, Beat the Street is a free, fun challenge where people are rewarded with points and prizes for exploring their town on foot or bicycle.
More than 160 special sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’ will appear across Swindon. Players tap the Beat Boxes with cards and fobs to track their journey and earn points for themselves and their team – the more Beat Boxes people swipe the more points they earn.
Schools and community groups across Swindon will be competing against each other to see if they can travel the furthest, climb the leaderboards and win hundreds of pounds worth of sport and fitness equipment.
Families are encouraged to play for their local school. While the wider community can create their own teams by firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘I’m Jessica, the Creative Director and Author of Honestly Ombré, a vegan lifestyle blog. Honestly Ombré aims to inspire its readers in all aspects of life, including product reviews, life experience, occasional advice and vegan health and wellbeing.
In May 2017 I launched my company Honestly Ombre Holistic Therapy. I offer a range of relaxing and pampering body & beauty treatments, all of which are vegan and cruelty free. If you would like more information, you can find out more here or click the ‘Holistic’ link at the top of the page.’
Jessica is highlighting the importance of getting your smear test with her campaign #NailYourSmear
Beauty therapy company gives free manicures to encourage smear tests
‘Honestly Ombré, a local beauty therapy company, is promoting a #NailYourSmear campaign to encourage women to have – or at least book – smear tests by the end of March 2018.
The Swindon based business is offering completely free manicures to those going for check-ups.
Smear test screening has fallen to an all time low with only 62% of women attending a screening in 2017. Yet in the UK, cervical cancer affects 3,000 women every year and is the biggest killer of women under the age of 35.
Honestly Ombré’s Founder Jessica Wallbridge had precancerous cells removed that were identified during a smear test.
“I have personal experience of precancerous cells being identified and removed at a young age that were picked up during a routine test. If I had waited much longer to get a test I might not have been so fortunate.’
“By offering a simple incentive such as free manicures, I want to encourage others to get checked. There is no limit to the campaign. If I end up doing 100 free manicures, it will be worth it, knowing that I might have saved somebody’s life.
“Almost 1,000 women in the UK die from cervical cancer every year. This is tragic given that the disease is treatable and the prospect of a complete cure is good if it’s diagnosed at an early stage. If I can contribute in some way to making the smear test experience a positive one, I’ll count the campaign a success!”
Honestly Ombré is encouraging other businesses to become involved in the campaign by using the #NailYourSmear hashtag to raise awareness and by creating their own campaigns to help increase smear test screening attendance. The campaign began on the 2nd February and will run until the 31st March 2018.
Jessica adds, “The feedback on social media so far has been amazing, and I’ve had lots of women contact me, sharing their experiences.
“I want to break down the perceived social stigma regarding smear tests that can often make women feel embarrassed or avoid going for these critical check ups.
“We need it to be normal for women to talk about their smear tests, and if I can encourage just a handful of women get past the hurdle of booking or going for their test, then I’ll be pleased.’
About Cervical Cancer and Screening
Cervical cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages.Yet smear tests can detect cell changes at a very early stage, and this is crucial for early treatment to reduce the risk of cervical cancer developing.
The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25, and recommends women are checked every 3 years between the age of 25 and 49, and every 5 years between the ages of 50 to 64.
About Honestly Ombré
Honestly Ombré is a vegan and cruelty free beauty and holistic therapy company based in Old Town, Swindon.
But it was only relatively recently that I had the pleasure of meeting him.
Carole Bent, a friend of Joel’s for 18 years and latterly a close colleague facilitated the introduction. As part of their work together , Carole introduced Joel to a range of people also positively engaged in Swindon – some of whom he knew – and some previously unknown to him. The common factor being that all were taking positive actions in reference to Swindon.
Anyway, the nice upshot of all that was Joel taking an interest in this here blog and signing up to follow it – which thrilled me to death of course! I love a new blog follower of any description!
Always the lawyer, chatting with Joel felt ever so slightly like an interrogation. But it was a privilege to be so interrogated. 🙂
Last night’s event, organised by Carole at the request of Joel’s wife and daughters, constituted a wonderful opportunity for representatives of Swindon’s community organisations and businesses to pay fitting tribute to him.
Held n the UTC central atrium this was a splendid affair, in a super splendid building, in a splendid town honouring a splendid man. This man who had saved Nelson Mandela from execution was the biggest champion for and advocate of Swindon.
There’s no finer tribute to Joel than this film from Swindon’s Create Studios. He tells his story in his words and pays tribute to the Swindon people who worked for him.
My favourite bit? I‘m paraphrasing slightly: ‘Everything is good about Swindon. But I sometimes don’t think the people of Swindon realise how good it is. I want everyone to be proud of Swindon and say ‘hey – this is a good place, we’re proud to be from Swindon.’
He’s right. Everything IS good about Swindon. Well – almost everything anyway. And I can’t begin to convey the frustration I feel when I hear people knocking the place.
I like the entire thing, but in particular the last sentence: ‘There is only one thing that I will not concede and that is that might be meaningless to strive in a good cause.’
Thank goodness for the Václavs and the Joels of this world. And thank goodness too for the groups and individuals in this town that continue to strive for good causes. I’m in awe of the effort they put in. There’s too many to mention here but Swindon would be poorer without them for sure.
It was a delight to know you Joel – albeit briefly. From one Born again Swindonian to another: RIP.
It’s good to see what was – many years ago – the Wiltshire hotel and latterly The Thistle, back in use as the Thistle Express. It’s in a super fab location for sure. Literally a spit from the railway and bus stations and the town centre. The Kimmerfields car park is just across the road and only a further little spit up to Regent Circus and the Cineworld cinema and eateries up there. What you might call at the heart of things.
I have an opportunity to try the place out soon so I’ll report back on that soon. I look forward to the bottomless breakfast. It sounds good to me! In the meantime, the official press release follows to give you a feel for the place.
‘Thistle Express is aimed at the savvy, value-conscious, modern traveller, providing more choice when it comes to booking trips.
The latest addition to the next generation of Thistle hotels in Swindon is opposite the future commercial quarter, ensuring the 95-bedroom hotel is conveniently placed for both business and leisure travellers. It’s the ideal location for guests to drop their bags, head off to that wedding, get ready for their big presentation, or get some well-deserved shut-eye. For those travelling from further afield, Thistle Express Swindon is just an eight-minute walk from the main train station.
The hotel offers fast, free Wi-Fi, bottomless tea and coffee and free breakfast for all guests.
Smart TVs in every bedroom allows those staying to stream their own content, along with blackout curtains and Hypnos mattresses for a good night’s sleep. Guests can fuel up for the day with the hotel’s delicious, free buffet breakfast, offering a selection of hot food as well as lighter continental options of fresh fruit, yoghurt and pastries. And with no need to check out, Thistle Express is turning the traditional hotel experience on its head.
The unique interior concept has been beautifully executed by Faber Design who recently created the Formula 1 R&D Centre, now used as the new headquarters for a leading Formula 1 motorsport company.
Thistle Express Swindon’s General Manager, James Preece, says; “As the latest addition to the Thistle Express family, I am delighted to be a part of the team here in Swindon. We’ve got a great team lined up, all of which are local to Swindon, and we’re all excited to welcome our first guests this autumn.”
Neil Gallagher, CEO at glh hotels says, “We are very proud to be extending our new Thistle Express brand. With increasing investment going into Swindon and the surrounding area and the new shopping hub and commercial quarter opening, we’re ready to welcome guests to this new, modern hotel. We listened to our customers and responded to the demand for a value proposition with fantastic amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, which is crucial to all guests regardless of the purpose of their stay.” ‘
Photography by Brydn Webb (c)
Launch Group 37284 Thistle Express , Swindon.
Ribbon Cutting, Swindon Mayor, Maureen Penny with Neil Gallagher, CEO GLH Hotels.
Launch Group 37284 Thistle Express , Swindon.
Team with Neil Gallagher (Right) CEO GLH Hotels.