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Local Comedy Star Tom Allen helps raise nearly £12K for South East London’s St Christopher’s Hospice

Local comedian Tom Allen has helped St Christopher’s Hospice in South East London raise nearly £12,000 much-needed funds for its Emergency Appeal, by hosting a live quiz on Facebook and YouTube on Friday 22 May 2020. Tom kept his audience of over 1,000 viewers entertained with shout-outs and banter, and even top tips for making a martini.

In between answering the quiz questions, the audience found the time to donate the fantastic sum of £11,953 to St Christopher’s Emergency Appeal.

Host of TV’s ‘Bake Off, The Professionals’, and regular guest TV panel shows such as ‘Have I Got News for You’ and ‘Saturday Kitchen’, local comedy star Tom visited the hospice last year to see its work for himself.

“The hospice is a wonderful organisation,” Tom Allen said, on the night. “It supports over 1,200 people every day across South East London but at the moment, with their charity shops shut and fundraising events curtailed, they have had none of that money coming in. They are there for you, your family and your neighbours, so it would be great to donate to them if you can.”

Georgie Grant Eaton, a fundraiser at St Christopher’s commented, “We can’t thank Tom enough for giving up his time and hosting our quiz, as well as everyone out there for donating! It was so much fun and we raised more money than we had dared hope, so thank you all so much for taking part!”

Supporters can still text the word ‘HOSPICE’ to 70500 to donate £5 to the hospice’s Emergency Appeal or visit


How to Deal with Your Emotions and Stay Calm and Positive

It’s human nature to not want to feel pain (emotional or physical pain) and this is why we often prefer to ‘bottle up’ negative emotions rather than feeling them and expressing them. Another aspect of this is that many of us have grown up without being shown how to express our emotions in a healthy way and so we can become afraid of them. We’re scared of a bad reaction or confrontation when we do say how we feel. We may also have learnt to believe certain emotions are ‘wrong’, such as anger, fear, dissapointment, sadness or jelousy. The truth is these emotions are natural and normal and they just need acknowledging (even just to yourself) to become ‘unstuck’, allowing you to release them and feel better.

What happens to suppressed emotions?

We push our feelings down but by doing this they don’t go away. They sit beneath the surface and can affect us negatively in different ways. Our emotions are held in the subconscious part of the mind: the part that is not under our conscious control. If we don’t identify them and release them they tend to fester and can be unhealthy for us. For example, if you’re upset about something a partner has said or done and you don’t acknowledge these feelings in a healthy way, you may become more and more resentful and this can affect your relationship negatively. Using this example you may only need to identify these feelings just for yourself and assess whether you do need to express them to the person involved, or not on this occasion. But if you don’t even articulate these emotions to yourself, you’re not really dealing with them at all.

How do we push our feelings down?

We may use distractions like overeating, drinking alcohol, drugs, watching TV, excessive work or shopping to prevent us facing unwanted feelings. These distractions work in the short-term but suppressing and not dealing with negative emotions can put stress on both the mind and body in the long-term. This can result in anxiety, depression, insomnia and physical symptoms like stomach issues, headaches, neck and shoulder tension and pain.

You need to feel it to heal it.

Here’s a simple tool for acknowledging your feelings and in doing so they become ‘felt’ and will simply pass. This is a super-simple way to acknowledge and process an emotion in order to let it go so that it no longer affects you.

Thought/Emotion Interrupter

It is best to write this down, but you can also just run through the process in your head if it is not possible to get pen and paper out!

By acknowledging the thought/feeling rather than trying to push it down or letting it take over, it will be processed & released. The second part of this technique allows you to identify an alternative positive feeling, which starts to train the brain to be more positive and resourceful.

Fill in the blanks below when you are feeling triggered;

1) “I am feeling…………………    because…………………………..”

Stay with the feeling for a couple of minutes and breathe.

Now the turnaround, which gives you the opportunity to identify and feel an alternative or more helpful (or even just a neutral) way to think about something:

2) “I would prefer to feel……………………………. and feeling this

way will allow me to………………………………………………………“

If, like many of us processing your feelings is a new habit just practice this tool whenever you need it. The habit will become easier and more natural the more you do it. Realise that by developing this new behaviour you are looking after your mental and physical health and also improving your relationship with yourself and others. 

Becca Teers 

This article first appeared in the May issue of SE22 Magazine.



Interior Shot

Look Before You Leap

Interior ShotLast year I was contacted by a client who, with the best of intentions, passion and energy and, believing he had everything sorted, threw himself into his property’s refurbishment. His builder was given full responsibility for the day to day project management. After just 2 weeks into the project, the cry for help came in.

Engaging an interior designer at this late stage is not uncommon but, is fraught with problems. The client may not know the interior designer’s work and approach, the existing design may lack professional aesthetic and practical input, and the space for conflict and/or compromise is wide.

The purpose of any refurbishment is to fulfil a human need. Having early professional input is critical in the design and delivery of an outcome that successfully satisfies that need.

The project contained perfectly suitable technical information for any builder to follow. What was lacking is what turns a house into a fully functional and comfortable home. Lighting would have failed to meet the required outcomes for ambient, accent or task needs. Electrical sockets were placed randomly, some of no use to anyone. Wardrobe doors did not open as they clashed with the beds. Radiators were poorly placed and affected furniture layouts.

Quite simply, the technical plans would not have met the client’s practical needs or realised the vision he had of how he would be living and experiencing his new home.

We may think these sort of design issues would not happen under our own watchful eyes, but, they do, and often.

Back to my project. The build continued at pace and headway had to be made quickly despite the lack of design specification, including furniture, fixings and equipment. We kept as far as we could to the original plan. Where design decisions and compromises had to be made, and quickly, the agreed alterations also had to be within budget or as close as possible to it. Do not expect an approved design to be static; they rarely are.

The client’s preference was to source products organically as the project moved towards completion which would have had created conflict with the build programme. The need to specify, source, and order all the required products had basically been overlooked.

I knew action had to be taken and the cry for help became a call for action. Immediately mood boards were produced, specialist stores and shops visited, wall colours tested and chosen, all within a few weeks. Luckily, (or was it by design?) all the chosen materials came within a few days of being required on site. Any further delays would have paused the project.

If you have the freedom to make your design options, choosing what you want when you feel the need to, then you are in the fortunate minority. In my experience, deadlines are generally always set around a ‘move-in date’ or, a need to be settled before the school term starts. Expectations are therefore high. As a designer, my desire is to help my clients make their choices and inevitable compromises at the start of the project, when they have the greatest freedom, not at the ‘11th hour’ when the result is in some way less than desirable and when additional costs can no longer be avoided.

My advice is to nail down everything at the start, understand your build, products and ordering schedule and be ready. You will then be able to leap into your refurbishment with confidence.

Bradley Viljoen Design Ltd

This article first appeared in the May issue of SE22 magazine.








Absorb And Redirect

This month I would like to talk about a concept that my business partner Antonia has been talking to me about… Absorb and redirect.

It’s an idea that comes from Kung Fu, which is a very old, traditional Eastern or Chinese form of martial arts, often inspired by old Chinese philosophies, religions and legends. The particular style that Antonia practices (there are many Kung Fu styles) teaches you that in order to become an efficient martial artist one should avoid resisting the forces that come towards you from your opponent. You should instead absorb, redirect and make that energy work for you.

I think it’s an interesting concept and relevant for today’s challenges. We’ve got a lot of negativity swirling around, but we also have the opportunity to create and take advantage of a great deal of positivity.

The idea of absorbing and redirecting

You absorb the energy that’s coming at you, both positive and negative, and then you redirect it. Think about everything that’s coming your way.

In Kung Fu, for example, if you resist your opponent you become inflexible, paralysed even and therefore unable to move and defend yourself. Also, you are more likely to lose the fight. If, however, you absorb your opponent’s energy and redirect it you are in flow and constantly adjusting and adapting.

And if you think about it, this concept is not just valid within the context of a Kung Fu fight. The idea of absorb and redirect can be applied to all kinds of situations in life.

What can you do to absorb energy? Don’t get too embroiled or too involved in or paralysed by it, redirect it into something really positive.

An example could be helping others. Many people who are on furlough have taken up volunteering work. There’s been about three quarters of a million people who have offered to help the NHS (Antonia and I are two of them, by the way) .You could look at helping your local community and there’s a lot you can do to help yourself.

Another example of how you can absorb and redirect that energy could be by looking at your outgoings and consolidating those things more. There are many different ways that we can redirect our energy in a really positive way. I hope that idea makes sense to you.

Someone else described it to me as, “Take the gifts.” You know, sometimes you’ll think, “I don’t want that,” and, “Yeah, I’ll definitely take that.” But it’s all a gift in some way and you may not be ready to hear that right now, but at some point you will be.

Take those gifts, absorb that energy that’s coming in and think about how you can positively redirect it. For some of you, you’ll be ready to action this. Others, you’ll thinking, “I’m going to have to think about this one because I’m not in the right head space.” That’s fine too.

All the best for now. Stay healthy.

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the May issue of SE22 magazine.






Food & Drink – Burgers


There is nothing that beats a good home-made burger and these are superb. This is a really simple recipe that guarantees truly scrumptious Burgers! It is very easy to follow and as always, a huge hit with the family!

If you don’t have horseradish, use mustard. If you don’t like mustard, keep it simple and leave it out! Add sundried tomatoes to the meat mix and pickles before you serve. It really doesn’t matter, just enjoy them!

This is a uber quick and ultra-delicious recipe. Fabulous for a BBQ – at a safe social distance of course. Watch me make them over on my Instagram page.  #cupboardcookeryclasses

Cooking time 30-40 Minutes


  • 750g minced beef
  • 1 onion (or shallots) – chopped
  • A handful of chopped Parsley
  • 2 clove garlic – crushed
  • 2 large tsp horseradish sauce (can use mustard instead)
  • 1*2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Up to 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Extra onions to caramelise for the buns
  • 6 burger buns
  • Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Heat Olive Oil in frying pan
  2. Add Chopped Onions and two cloves of garlic
  3. Add a pinch of salt and pepper
  4. Cook until onion is transparent then leave to cool
  5. Take the minced beef, place in a bowl and add two tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce, two large teaspoons of horseradish sauce, a pinch of salt & pepper and a dessertspoon of freshly chopped parsley
  6. Break your egg into the minced beef and mix all ingredients together in the bowl.
  7. When the cooked onions & garlic have cooled add them to the mince.
  8. Keep the frying pan to one side as you will use it again to caramelise onions later.
  9. If your mince looks too wet you can add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs to it at this point and mix well.
  10. You can use the pan you cooked the onions in to check the consistency of the burger mix if you wish – simply fry off a small amount, like a mini burger in the pan to check it holds together! When you are happy with the mixture place it in the fridge until ready to use.
  11. Time to caramelise some onions! Add some more olive oil to the frying pan along with 25g of butter and melt together.
  12. Add one sliced onion to the pan along with two or three pinches of sea salt and about a tablespoon of brown sugar, along with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
  13. Cook down a little, tossing the onions initially, then cover with some silver foil and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes to caramelise fully.
  14. While the onions are caramelising take your burger mix out of the fridge and divide into 8 equal portions.
  15. Mould each patty into a meatball shape then flatten down into a burger.
  16. Return to the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest.
  17. When onions are caramelised, it is time to cook your burgers on the hob or the BBQ. As you have used mince beef be sure to cook them right through, you can pop them in the oven for 5 minutes before serving to be sure of this.
  18. Serve in a bun to your taste, whether that’s with ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, onions….. the choice is yours!

In Season this month

Fruits & Nuts
Cherries, Elderflowers, Rhubarb
Vegetables & Herbs
Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Lettuce, New Potatoes, Radishes, Rocket, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring Onions, Watercress
Meat & Game
Lamb, Wood Pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Cod, Crab, Dover Sole, Halibut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Plaice, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sea Trout

Going out of season
Morel Mushrooms

This article first appeared in the May issue of SE22 magazine.