WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January Cambridge

As we pack away the Christmas decorations and Dry January rolls around, there’s a new way to party in the city.  “WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January” is happening on Saturday 26 January at Cambridge University Centre on Granta Place, running from 2pm until late.  This sober social is an event for everyone and revolves around good feelings rather than alcohol.

Wonder Take-over Cambridge
Image credit: Charlie Snape

Created by friends Lisa Pollitt and Suzie Young, “WONDER Take-over” reflects a cultural shift and the fact that many people are now more mindful of their drinking habits or are avoiding alcohol for a multitude of reasons.  Lisa and Suzie are both busy working mothers.  They’re conscious of the choices they make about what goes into their bodies and whilst not teetotal, they both have periods of abstaining from alcohol.  “We’ve witnessed unhealthy relationships with alcohol and we want to model something different for our kids,” Lisa tells me.

Inspired by the endorphin high they experienced at a 5 Rhythms dance class, Lisa and Suzie wanted to get that feeling again on a night out but when they couldn’t find an event without alcohol, they decided to set one up themselves from scratch, starting with a day event last July and following up with “Winter WONDER: The Alternative Christmas Party” in December.

Wonder Take-over Cambridge
Image credit:  Charlie Snape

So what can you expect from “WONDER Take-over”?  A plethora of happenings designed to trigger your happy neurochemicals, raise your oxytocin levels and give you a natural buzz.  There’ll be plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails with a vegan menu served up by Meatless street food van.  Daytime workshops include Uplifting Joy Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Gong Bath.  The evening kicks off with quick witted comedy from Cambridge Improv Factory, uplifting club classics, disco, house, funk and soul from DJs Paul Darking, MissChivers and Luna Love, immersive theatre sessions and dancefloor massages.

Wonder Take over Cambridge
Image credit:  Suzie Young

With an enthusiastic fan base of happy partygoers aged from 17 – 74, Lisa and Suzie have plans for more WONDER Festival events in Cambridge and possibly beyond.  For details of “WONDER Take-over: New You and Dry January” and to book tickets, check out the website.

www.wonderfestival.co.uk

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the January issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

What’s on in Cambridge – January

Well, a new year has dawned and at the time of writing, things are pretty quiet in the city as life slowly resumes after the festive break.  Here’s the listing for January and I’ll add to it as I discover more events – please do get in touch if you are involved in something that could be included.

Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey
Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey

5th    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday – Crazy Cone Creations.  Use twigs, paint and wire to make crazy cone works of art.  Botanic Garden.  Free event.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

5th    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Fun activities and art making for all the family on the theme “Start with Art”.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  Free, drop in.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

6th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

7th    7.30pm  A Georgian Christmas Wassail with Chela and Buska, the Cambridge Georgian choirs.  Jesus College Chapel.  Free entry.  Reserve seats at chelatickets@gmail.com

8th    Whistler & Nature exhibition opens, running until 17th March.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

14th    7.45pm  Light to the World – Experiences of a Veterinary Opthalmologist.  Speaker:  Dr David Williams, Dept of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.  Part of the monthly Science meets Faith series.  Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces.

16 – 19th    My Fair Lady.  Cambridge Operatic Society.  Cambridge Arts Theatre.  http://www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

17th   8pm  Tori Freestone Trio.  Cambridge Modern Jazz.  Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane.  http://www.cambridgejazz.org

19th    2pm  The Big Sing 2019.  Faure Requiem.  Join The New Cambridge Singers and hundreds of other singers.  Rehearsal 2 – 4.30pm, performance 6pm.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.newcambridgesingers.org.uk

19th    7.30pm  Sinfonia Cambridge.  Tchaikovsky, Humperdinck, Brahms.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

19th    8pm  War Requiem, Britten.  Choirs of Clare, Jesus, Selwyn and Trinity Colleges with choristers of Jesus and St Catherine’s College choirs and Cambridge University Chamber Choir.  King’s College Chapel.  Tickets from shop.kings.cam.ac.uk or on the door.

20th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

21 – 27th    10am – 5pm  Cambridge Winter Exhibition.  Islamic art, culture, heritage and civilisation.  Cambridge Library, 3rd Floor, Lion Yard.

24th    7.30pm  Poetry at the Pub.  Six published and prize winning local poets read their work, open mic floor spots and books for sale.  The Blue Moon pub, Norfolk Street, CB1.  http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk

24th    7.30pm  An Evening with Sophie Hannah, presented by Literature Cambridge.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.   www.staplefordgranary.org.uk  Read more about Literature Cambridge here

25th    8pm  Burns Night Ceilidh in aid of Friends of Freetown.  Emmanuel URC Church, CB2.  Tickets on the door or from http://www.friendsoffreetown.org.uk/burnsnight

26th    2pm  WONDER New You sober social.  Yoga and Gong Bath, alcohol free drinks, vegan food, comedy and music.  Cambridge University Centre, Granta Place.  http://www.wonderfestival.co.uk

26th    2pm and 4pm  The Mouse Who Jumped.  A musical adventure for adults and children.  Family concert suitable for age 5+.  Come dressed as a Carnival Creature! Cambridge Philharmonic.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com

27th    10.30am – 4pm  Cambridge Vegan Market.  Vegan food and drinks, ethical clothing and charities plus ethically produced cosmetics.  The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.veganmarkets.co.uk/cambridge  Read more about last year’s Vegan Market here

30th    6 – 9pm  Zoology Late: Winter Escape!  Arts and crafts, the science of animal migration and cocktails.  Museum of Zoology, Downing Street.  Age 18+.  Free, no need to book.  http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk/events

Paperwhites in my kitchen
Paperwhites in my kitchen

 

Merry Christmas from New in Cambridge!!

Christmas wreath
Christmas wreath on my front door

Well I can hardly believe that 2018 has gone so fast and Christmas is nearly here.  I’ll be taking a break until the New Year but to the people who have been so much part of the blog and its success during its first full year of existence, I just wanted to say thank you …..

….. to everybody who has read, liked, shared, got in touch and commented on posts.  I love writing about what’s new in this city and I love hearing from you too.  Many thousands of people from 73 (yes, 73!!) countries have tuned in to the blog this year and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my words

….. to everybody who’s given me their time as I’ve interviewed them.  This city is full of interesting people doing amazing things.  It’s a privilege to have met you all and to tell your stories

…..  to Alice for inviting me to take New in Cambridge to Velvet Magazine as a monthly column.  It’s a great thing to see my words in print and to reach a whole new audience

….. to Lucy and Jack for your technical support.  Without you, the blog would look very dull indeed!

….. to my family and friends for their support and encouragement and for being my sounding boards

Wishing everybody a very happy Christmas!  See you in the New Year!!

Mistletoe from Cambridge Market
Mistletoe from Cambridge Market

 

 

Christmas shopping in Cambridge

Cambridge is a wonderful city for Christmas shopping with so many beautiful independent shops alongside the big chains.  Here’s the low down on where I’ll be shopping this Christmas ….

cracker kit cutout
Image credit: Cambridge Imprint

….. Cambridge Imprint for beautiful Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift tags, paper chain kits and their brilliant Christmas cracker kit which comes with everything you need to make superb personalised crackers.  Just add in your own little gift and a joke (cue pained groans from my nearest and dearest!).  And you end up with a gorgeous box to keep for yourself.

www.cambridgeimprint.co.uk

Radmore shopfront
Image credit: Radmore Farm Shop

…… Radmore Farm Shop for Christmas meats, game, free range turkeys, cockerels, geese and all the trimmings from hand made sausages to home cooked ham plus Vicky’s scrumptious Christmas cakes and mince pies.  Choose your Christmas tree from the selection of top quality Nordmann Firs (which won’t drop their needles) and, even better, Ben will deliver said tree to your door.

www.radmorefarmshop.co.uk

Cambridge Cheese Company Christmas window
Image credit: Cambridge Cheese Company

…..  Cambridge Cheese Company for classic Stilton, local Cambridge Blue and beautifully kept cheeses from all over Europe.  Seasonal specials that they’ve been quietly maturing in their cellar include Gumburner (an old, very strong cheddar) and Dragon Slayer (a hard, sharp cow’s cheese).  You’ll also find panettone studded with marrons glaces, panforte, stollen, nutty toronne and plenty more Christmas deliciousness here.

www.cambridgecheese.com

Holly wreath
Holly wreath from Cambridge Market

…..  Cambridge Market for armfuls of holly and mistletoe to deck the halls, holly wreaths (lovely just as they are or add some bling with your own decorations), fresh fruit and vegetables.  At award-winning All Saint’s Garden Art and Craft Market, you’ll find a wide variety of local artists and crafts people selling hand made jewellery, ceramics and much more.  Perfect for winkling out original gifts.

www.visitcambridge.org/shopping/markets

Mistletoe from Cambridge Market
Mistletoe from Cambridge Market

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the December issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

Christmas in Cambridge

I love this time of year.  Cambridge looks more beautiful than ever with the Christmas lights twinkling as dusk falls and I still get that child-like rush of excitement in the run up to the big day.  And I firmly believe that you’re never too old for a pantomime.  One of my fondest childhood memories is my granny treating us to the panto each year … putting on my best dress, meeting up with my cousins, munching a choc ice in the interval.

Snow White Cambridge Junction
Image credit:  Claire Haigh/WeThreeClub

I’m sure the ice cream selection, if not the jokes, will be a bit more sophisticated at the two pantomimes running in the city this year.  Cambridge Junction brings us Snow White, an original take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, with magic, music and a very shiny red apple.  Over at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Aladdin is a classic panto with dazzling costumes and spectacular dance routines.  Both productions offer a British Sign Language interpreted performance and a Relaxed performance.

www.junction.co.uk

www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

 

BALLET CENTRAL _NUCRACKER,Stratford Circus Arts Centre
Image credit:  Bill Cooper

Ballet Central are bringing their adaptation of The Nutcracker to the ADC Theatre from 13 – 15 December with performances at 2.30pm, 4.30pm and 6.30pm.  At 45 minutes long, it’s the perfect way to introduce children to this Christmas ballet with its iconic Tchaikovsky score.  Enjoy the fantasy and sparkle as Clara’s dreams come alive and she journeys to the Kingdom of Sweets, meeting her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy along the way.

www.adctheatre.com

The North Pole ice skating

The North Pole Ice Rink returns to Parker’s Piece for the festive season, with food and drinks available at the cosy undercover Alpine Bar.  I hung up my skates long ago after an unfortunate ice rink incident which resulted in a very bruised coccyx but you’ll find me nursing a hot chocolate, maybe a mulled wine, as I watch my family twirl on the ice.  Or perhaps I’ll sneak off to have a go on the fairground rides!

www.thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk

King's College Cambridge

For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some yuletide singing.  Carol services in the city include Carols at Michaelhouse at 3pm and 4pm on 15 December and a traditional Carols by Candlelight at Great St Mary’s on 23 December at 6.30pm.  Possibly the most famous Christmas service of all, The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel, is broadcast to millions around the world on Christmas Eve.  To get your hands on a ticket, go to the College early on Christmas Eve morning with photo ID.  Ticket distribution starts at 7am.  Or grab a mince pie, put your feet up and tune in to BBC Radio 4 for the live transmission at 3pm.

www.kings.cam.ac.uk

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the December issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

 

What’s on in Cambridge – December 2018

There’s so much wonderful stuff going on in the city this month.  On this listing, you’ll find carol concerts, Christmas music, ballet, pantomime, Dickens and more!  Please get in touch if you know of other events that I can include here.

Holly wreath

1 – 9th    10 – 4pm  Anglian Pottery Christmas Selling Exhibition.  All Saints’ Church, Jesus Lane.  Free entry.  http://www.anglianpotters.org.uk

1st    10.30 – 4.30pm  Mill Road Winter Fair.  Facebook: Mill Road Winter Fair 2018  Read more about last year’s Mill Road Winter Fair here

1st    Cambridge Made Christmas Fair.  St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, CB2.  Facebook: Cambridge Made Christmas Fair 2018  Read more about Cambridge Made and last year’s Christmas Fair here

1st    7.30pm  Christmas Oratorio, JS Bach.  Clare College Choir and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  Trinity College Chapel.  http://www.adcticketing.com

1st    7.30pm  Messiah.  Handel.  St John’s Voices and Cambridge Baroque Camerata.  St John’s College Chapel.  http://www.adcticketing.com

1st Dec – 6 Jan    Aladdin.  Cambridge Arts Theatre.  http://www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

2nd    5.30pm  Candlelit Service of music and readings for Advent.  Great St Mary’s Church  http://www.gsm.cam.ac.uk

4th    7.30pm  “The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance.”  Cambridge ghost stories for Christmas with Robert Lloyd Parry of Nunkie Productions.  Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane, CB5.  http://www.museumoftechnology.com  http://www.nunkie.co.uk

5th    5 – 8pm  Rowan Winter Warmer.  http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk  Read more about Rowan, their Winter Warmer and the upcoming “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition here

5 – 31st   Snow White.  Cambridge Junction.  http://www.junction.co.uk

7 – 8th    7.30pm  A Christmas Carol.  Adapted and performed by Martin Prest.  The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road, CB5.  http://www.adcticketing.com

8th    3pm  In Dulci Jubilo.  Erasmus Chamber Choir and Ensemble.  Bach, Buxtehude and Bellis.  Choral preludes, motets and carols for Advent and Christmas.  St Columba’s Church, Downing Street.  Free entry.

8th    7pm  Messiah by candlelight.  Handel.  Eboracum Baroque.  Great St Mary’s Church.  In aid of Cancer Research. http://www.eboracumbaroque.co.uk

8th    7.30pm  Bernstein on Broadway.  Cambridge Philharmonic.  West Road Concert Hall  http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com

8th    8pm   Music for Advent and Christmas.  Music by Parsons, Darke and Dove and carols for audience participation.  Fairhaven Singers.  Trinity College Chapel.  http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk

10th    7.30pm  Mr Charles Dickens presents A Christmas Carol.  Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road.  http://www.anglia.ac.uk/mumfordtheatre

11th    7.30pm  O Holy Night.  Seasonal music, festive favourites and Christmas carols.  Choir of Jesus College.  Jesus College Chapel.  http://www.adcticketing.com

11th    7.45pm  The Soldier by Rachel Wagstaff.  A play based on the life of Rupert Brooke. In support of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  Orchard Tea Garden, Grantchester.  http://www.meshtheatre.com/tickets.html

12th    5 – 8pm  Fairtrade Christmas gift shopping evening.  Cafe Abantu, Hobson Street.  Ethical shopping with complimentary mulled wine and mince pies.  Read more about Cafe Abantu here

12th    8pm  A Ceremony of Carols.  Seasonal music for choir and harp.  Britten, Rutter, Warlock and others.  Traditional carols and contemporary settings.  Granta Chorale.  Corpus Christi College Chapel.  Raising money for Jimmy’s Night Shelter.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk

13 – 15th    The Nutcracker.  Ballet Central.  Adapted 45 minute performance.  ADC Theatre  http://www.adctheatre.com  Read more about this production of The Nutcracker here

15th    11am – 12 noon  Jingle All The Way.  Christmas carols, songs and fun for all the family.  Cambridge Chorale.  Great St Mary’s Church.  Tickets from http://www.adcticketing.com or on the door.

15th    3pm and 4pm  Carol Services at Michaelhouse, Trinity Street.  http://www.gsm.cam.ac.uk

15th    5pm  Welcome All Wonders.  Cantata for choir, organ and trumpet, celebrating the Christmas story.  Cambridge Chorale.  Great St Mary’s Church.  Tickets from http://www.adcticketing.com or on the door.

15th    7.30pm  Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti) and A Ceremony of Carols (Britten).  New Cambridge Singers.  Church of St John the Evangelist, Hills Road. http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk

16th    3.30pm and 5.30pm  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.   Prime Brass with Junior Prime Brass and choirs.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

18 – 22nd    Peter Pan.  Cambridge Theatre Company.  Great Hall at The Leys, CB2.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust/tickets

18 – 23rd    3pm  Nine Lessons and Images.  A Christmas Tour of the Fitzwilliam Museum.  http://www.eventbrite.co.uk (tickets at 9 Images) or email roblloydparry@hotmail.com.  50% of all ticket sales goes to Wintercomfort.

20th    6.30pm  Chesterton Community Carols.  Carols with brass band, refreshments and High Wired Circus performing a festive show.  St Andrew’s Church, Chesterton.  Free entry, collection for Wintercomfort.

23rd    6.30pm  Carols by Candlelight.  Great St Mary’s Church  http://www.gsm.cam.ac.uk

29 – 31st and 1 Jan    The Nutcracker/Swan Lake.  St Petersburg Classic Ballet.  Cambridge Corn Exchange  http://www.cornex.co.uk

IMG_20181123_140849_295.jpg

Rowan Winter Warmer and “Cambridge Seen” Art Exhibition

It’s always a pleasure to visit Rowan, the Humberstone Road based arts centre and charity for people with learning disabilities.  There’s such a friendly and purposeful atmosphere there as the student artists go about their work in small groups with tutors.  They create beautiful pieces in the wood, ceramics, print, textiles and mixed media studios, undertake many private commissions and sell their work at exhibitions and events.

Rowan Cambridge reindeers
Image credit: Rowan

Rowan Cambridge ceramic Christmas treeRowan is holding its popular annual Winter Warmer on Wednesday 5 December from 5 – 8pm.  Everybody is welcome and entry is free.  You’ll find handmade gifts and cards, wooden reindeer, wooden table displays and ceramic tree decorations to buy and you can make a gorgeous ceramic Christmas tree at the Christmas workshop.  And, of course, there’ll be mulled wine, mince pies and live music too!

Rowan Cambridge Christmas Wreaths
Image credit: Rowan

Rowan’s major fundraiser for 2019 is the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, happening on 9 and 10 February at Long Road Sixth Form College.  To be part of this, you can get creative and produce a piece of art work or go along to the exhibition to invest in some art.  Or indeed, you can do both!  You don’t need to be a professional artist at all … just buy a canvas from Rowan for £10 and, using whatever media you like, make a piece of art inspired by your view of Cambridge.  A bridge, a building, a landscape, your garden … there’s no limit to the possibilities.  Then when you’re done, return your completed canvas to Rowan by 1 February.  Here are a couple of artworks that have been returned to them already.

Rowan Cambridge Art Exhibition

Every penny raised from this “Cambridge Seen” exhibition will go to fund Rowan’s work.  Activities here give the students a daily routine and structure as well as helping with development of their social and communication skills, building their self-esteem and increasing their self-confidence.  There’s a real buzz as they mingle in the light, spacious communal areas at breaks and mealtimes.  All places are subsidised so there is a need for fundraising year round to make sure that this remarkable venture and its student artists can continue to thrive.

Rowan Cambridge Art Exhibition

For more details of Rowan, the Winter Warmer and the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, take a look at the website.

http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk

40 Humberstone Road, Cambridge CB4 1JG