Smart thinking

At the touch of a screen or even the sound of a voice, homeowners in Norfolk can light up their rooms, control their music or even open their blinds in the morning. High tech, cutting-edge solutions are becoming more and more popular both in new and old homes, as well as in holiday properties. Christie Orton, director of Norfolk Smart Homes, believes connectivity is the key to easy 21st century living, as well as to saving energy and enjoying leisure time. “After training as an electrician and running my own successful electrical contracting company for five years, I found clients were interested in …

Great Escapes

Sowerbys Holiday Cottages, North Norfolk Those thinking of taking flight for an autumn break or of booking a comfortable place to light a fire and hibernate this winter could consider the properties available through Sowerbys Holiday Cottages. Owner Andrea Sowerby points out that North Norfolk is superb at this time of year for anyone who enjoys watching wildlife, especially birds. “There is nothing quite like seeing the pink-footed geese flying overhead when they arrive here for the winter,” she says. “It really is a lovely sight.” Others worth spotting include brent geese, merlins, avocets and little egrets, as well as wintering gulls, hen harriers …

Seasonal sparkle

Aurum, Norwich Contemporary jewellery boutique Aurum nestles in the heart of the Norwich Lanes, where it specialises in fine wedding, engagement and designer jewellery, but also has an extensive range of silver and men’s jewellery, which could make fabulous Christmas gifts. Owner Jon Maddocks explains he and his team select their jewellery designs from around the world, resulting in unique pieces unlike anything else in East Anglia. “New products this year include the British-designed Cornerstone Creations, a new range of men’s silver Buddha to Buddha bracelets, and some stunning pieces and cutting-edge designs from Decho Echo,” he says. “We will also have new collections …

In the Know – Damien Cabanis

How long have you lived in Norfolk?   I was born in Brittany, but my roots are from the South of France, where I spent all my summers. I remember following my grandfather around vineyards in the Languedoc, Rhône, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Cahors. I arrived in Norfolk in May 1997 having spent a year in Surrey working as a restaurant manager. One of my sisters was living in Norfolk and told me she would take me to the best parties! What do you enjoy about living here? My two children were born in the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Norwich has been a great …

Jewel of the town

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A modern inn set in a historic building, the Crown at Woodbridge attracts visitors to Suffolk from across the country to its bar, hotel and restaurant. Laura Ford, house manager, explains the establishment on the Thoroughfare offers 10 boutique bedrooms and a real Suffolk food experience. “It combines all that is great about escaping to the country, with all that is good about staying in a wonderful market town,” she says. The historic building has stylish interiors: “Bedrooms have been  transformed into luxurious yet affordable retreats, created by award-winning, London based designers, Bentheim, with goose-down pillows, crisp cotton bed linen and underfloor heating.” Warming autumnal …

Home style

Set on Church Street in Woodbridge, Vanil is an independent, Scandinavian-inspired lifestyle and interiors shop. Coming from a design background, owner Mandy Leeson has an eye for beautiful pieces. She says Vanil, which is based in her home, offers an ever-evolving, eclectic mix. “We love ceramics, textiles, mid-century furniture and supporting local artists,” she says. “This Christmas our Pappelina rugs and Danish candles will be a big feature.” Mandy is always looking for new and interesting pieces to offer through Vanil. She chooses items she likes and that bring something different to Woodbridge. “This autumn, for example, we have some new ceramics from Sue …

Abigail Mill

Can you tell us a little about your work as an artist? I am a textile artist using machine embroidery as my medium. I have been working as a commercial artist for the past 25 years, selling my work and licensing my images to the giftware industry and at one stage running a successful greetings card publishing company, distributing my cards worldwide.   How has it evolved in recent years? My embroidery technique is self-developed. I layer up and embroider the fabrics, some overdyed, in order to use a huge colour spectrum. In some places it can be very three-dimensional. Often when I exhibit …

Suffolk’s best

Since taking over the kitchen at Tuddenham Mill, Lee Bye has not only been keen to attract a broader range of customers but also to serve up food they recognise and enjoy.     “I try to push the boundaries with everyday dining,” he explains. “I want to be serving people food they understand, dishes that are based around meat and two veg, but with a difference and using the right ingredients. “It is important to me to use good, seasonal, Suffolk ingredients – and that those ingredients are treated with respect.” Lee has headed up the kitchen at the luxury boutique hotel and restaurant …

Leaves of Gold

Take time out this autumn to absorb the glorious reds, yellows and golds of the Norfolk and Suffolk landscapes Sheringham Park, Norfolk Watch the changes of autumn in the leaves at Sheringham Park, which was famously landscaped by Humphry Repton. Here some of the beautiful specimen trees are often the first to turn – look out for the Japanese maple and golden larch along the main drive. The leaves on the giant branches of the ancient beeches becoming yellow are also a spectacular sight and the autumn hues of the oak woodland viewed from the end of the drive are picturesque. Thetford Forest, Norfolk and …