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Beacon Magazine


  • 200 years of Ryde Pier: Ludicrous Journeys, Itchycoo Park and Babycham

    At low tide, the sea off the coast of Ryde is nearly half a mile away. Though its proximity to Portsmouth makes it the shortest Solent crossing — so in times gone by, the inconvenient half mile slog across the sands was seen as a price worth paying.

  • Winter coats needed for Island’s homeless

    A local funeral co-ordinator is hoping to rally the community spirit to help families in need of support this winter.

  • Good Health: A Brief History Of Diabetes

    With approximately 1 in 15 people in the UK living with diabetes, Adele Trathan looks at the history of this complicated condition

  • Ten Great Bargains You Can Pick Up For Black Friday

    Looking for some great discounts ahead of Black Friday? Amazon are offering deals on a range of products all week until Monday November 30 - here's our picks for you...

  • The Cowes Floating Bridge: Since 1859

    Cowes Floating Bridge has been a hot topic of late, so we've searched our archives to bring you this great history piece, by John Medland, which delves into the life and times of the Floating Bridge and its many predecessors.

  • Winter Skincare for a Beautiful You

    Winter can be hard on skin, with cold winds and the drying effects of central heating leading to a dull and dehydrated complexion. Yet maintaining a healthy glow is possible with a few small changes to your skincare regime, writes Lisa de Silva,

  • Ventnor's Royal Hotel: Steeped in History

    The prestigious Royal Hotel, in Ventnor, was built more than a hundred and fifty years ago as a coaching house to accommodate both travellers and people who had come to Ventnor for the sake of their health.

  • Creatures Great And Small In War

    On Remembrance Day we honour the lives lost and human sacrifice of war. Here, Ruth Lawrence discovers how animals also played their part working alongside soldiers and civilians.

  • Island wildlife artist launches 2020 advent series for conservation

    Following a popular Endangered Advent campaign last year, where she produced an imaginative, festive-themed wildlife illustration each day in the lead-up to Christmas, island-based artist Jen Parker is starting a new advent series in December – this time focusing on British wildlife in collaboration with People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). The original illustrations will be sold and all profits donated to PTES. 

  • Ten Items Great For The Home During Lockdown

    With another lockdown currently upon us, it's not particularly nice having to stay at home all the time. But there's no need to live in discomfort, with plenty of options to enhance your home, especially as winter approaches. Here's our picks to get the perfect set-up...

  • Tiger Tales: The Corney Family History at Isle of Wight Zoo

    From cubs in the caravan to strolling with snakes, the Corney family have lived a unique family life, surrounded by exotic animals.

  • Let's Buy Local This Christmas

    Now’s the time to support local shops and eateries, when independent businesses need our custom more than ever before. Despite many having to close their doors throughout November, lots of local businesses are offering home delivery and collection services throughout their temporary closure. We find out how you can still shop local throughout lockdown...

  • Isle of Wight Radio's Child of Wight Awards 2020

    The Island is blessed with an abundance of exceptional youngsters — and Isle of Wight Radio’s Child of Wight Awards recognise their wonderful achievements.

  • Fireworks advice for dog owners

    With many public firework displays set to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19, and the likelihood that more people will host private displays in their back gardens, Dogs Trust is issuing top tips to owners to help their dogs cope with these potentially distressing events.

  • Ten Great Christmas Presents For the Kids This Year

    Can you believe it's nearly Christmas?! And after the year it's been, it seems like we all deserve a treat. Here's our picks for the best gifts on offer for your children this year...

  • 🎃🎃 Win a Voucher for Eat Street in our Pumpkin Carving Competition 🎃🎃

    The team at Beacon Magazine and their families have been carving pumpkins ready for Halloween this weekend...and we’ve decided to get you lot involved. So we’ve teamed up with Eat Street IOW to give one lucky winner a £20 voucher to spend on their DELICIOUS takeaway street food.

  • The Life and Times of the Pumpkin

    We take a look at all things pumpkin, its origins and its surprising number of uses.

  • That Ol' Black Magic: Why it's the ideal colour for autumn fashion

    A mysterious and seductive colour, Lisa de Silva tells us why black remains one of the most popular choices in the fashion world.

  • Gene Vincent at the Royal York Hotel, 1969

    A few months after Bob Dylan performed at IW Festival 1969, American musician Gene Vincent performed for one night only at the Island’s Royal York Hotel in Ryde.

  • Halloween Crafting: Spooktacular Ideas for the Family

    From pom pom pumpkins to homemade outfits, here's how to make this Halloween your most creative one yet

Food and Drink

  • Homemade Chocolate Truffles

    Chocolate truffles make the perfect homemade gift to give at Christmas, or to enjoy yourself while snuggled up in front of a festive film.

  • Cheese And Wine: A Perfect Match

    This is the ideal time of year to really get stuck into the festive cheese boards, paired with just the right wine of course. Peter d’Aguilar gives us a quick lesson

  • Gluten Free Carrot Cake

    This gluten free carrot cake recipe by Jane Freeman uses honey in both the cake mix and cream cheese topping. Why not choose locally produced honey as it supports the local producers and reduces food miles

  • Spiced Christmas Chutney

    We've gotten pretty good at baking and making over the past year, so we're keeping the momentum going with another festive home recipe.

  • A Recipe for a Traditional Christmas Cake

    With much more time spent at home in the lead up to Christmas this year, why not revisit an old festive tradition — and bake a Christmas cake to share with the family on the big day. Nothing beats it!

  • Bonfire Brookie

    Regardless of whether bonfire night goes off with a bang as usual this year, you can still celebrate November 5th with some snap, crackle and pop — with this seasonal recipe from 15-year-old trainee pâtissier chef, Imogen Palmer.

  • Recipe: Pumpkin Soup

    What better to eat in October than pumpkin soup? Seasonal and delicious, this bright and cheerful vegetable is at its best from October to December. You can have this soup either as an everyday supper, or to jazz it up for Halloween, it’s fun to serve it out of a pumpkin!

  • Recipe: Toffee Apples

    No Halloween or Bonfire Night party would be complete without some traditional toffee apples. To create these classic sticky and sweet treats, just follow this simple recipe. If you happen to have ‘little helpers’, be careful of the hot sugar, and don’t forget to have a bowl of soapy water nearby!

  • RECIPE: Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

    Don't throw away the flesh from your pumpkin...use it to make something delicious instead. This recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Loaf is one of our absolute favourites, and is made year-in year-out by editor, Amy.

  • Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Pastry

    Approximately 13 million pumpkins are used in the UK for Halloween. Unfortunately most of these are only used for carving and then the flesh is discarded. What a waste!

  • Pizza Pinwheels

    Serve up delicious Pizza Pinwheels at home this Firework Night, to remember remember the 5th of November in your own way. We may not be out at our favourite firework displays as usual, but we can certainly put on a spread to enjoy with the family, starting with these delicious bitesize treats. Makes 16 pinwheels Takes 25 mins to cook and prepare

  • Recipe: French Style Beef Casserole

    As the darker nights draw in, comfort food is the perfect solution. Here's our recipe for a mouth-watering French style casserole.

  • Home-made Sloe Gin

    October is the perfect month to start picking sloe berries and to get a delicious batch of Sloe Gin underway for Christmas.

  • Crispy Duck Pancakes with Hoisin Sauce

    This warming dish is perfect for autumn nights at home. And it's much easier to make than you might think. Serve with rice and salad, or enjoy on their own.

  • Recipe: Baked Pears with Honey

    Here's a dessert recipe to enjoy; sticky, scrumptious and ever so slightly healthy... perfect for a sunny Autumn day.

  • Recipe: Wrapped and Stuffed Tenderloin of Pork

    As the autumn season approaches, enjoy this hearty choice for a family meal.

  • RECIPE: Bacon and Pecan Popcorn

    As autumn draws closer, you might find yourself snuggled up at home with a film more often. And no good movie night can ever be complete without a big bowl of popcorn to tuck in to. Try this mouth-watering recipe for Bacon and Pecan Popcorn, for something a little different.

  • RECIPE: Home-baked Croissants

    Nothing beats enjoying home-baked croissants, fresh from the oven! And now you can enjoy a plentiful supply from home, with these kitchen cupboard staples.

  • Summer recipe: Family Paella

    With summer in full swing, why not enjoy a family paella in the sun?

  • Summer recipes: Gin and Tonic Sorbet

    With summer in full swing, Gillian Reay-Young shares this recipe for Gin and Tonic Sorbet to enjoy in the sun.

John Hannam Meets

  • John Hannam meets Shaun Williamson

    When Shaun Williamson was filling shelves in a Maidstone supermarket his ambition was to be like Richard Burton. Eventually, via Pontins in Wootton, 1986, he became Barry Evans, who for eight years was one of EastEnders’ most popular characters.

  • Isle Of Wight's John Hannam Remembers 'Kind' Des O'Connor

    During the 28 non-stop years of John Hannam Meets on Isle of Wight Radio, I was lucky enough to interview some huge stars from the world of entertainment, including Hollywood greats, pop icons and showbiz legends. During the run of my chat show I interviewed Des O'Connor on two occasions and he was one of the nicest and kindest people I ever had the good fortune to meet.

  • John Hannam meets Joe McFadden

    Life has been wonderfully unpredictable for Scottish actor Joe McFadden. Before winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, he’d been a rock star in Sex, Chips & Rock ‘n’ Roll, cast as maverick cop, Joe Mason in Heartbeat and surgeon Raf di Lucca in Holby City.

  • Gwen Taylor: An interview with Beacon's John Hannam

    Gwen Taylor is one of those actors known for a wide variety of names — Amy Pearce from Duty Free, Barbara Liversidge in Barbara, Heartbeat’s Peggy Armstrong, Rita Simcock from A Bit Of A Do or even murderer, Anne Foster, from Coronation Street.

  • David Calder tells John Hannam why he loves the Isle of Wight

    Over the years, top actors like Celia Imrie, Benedict Cumberbatch, Penelope Keith and Geoffrey Hughes have all fallen in love with the Island. The latest to join them is David Calder, whose credits include The World Is Not Enough, The Hatton Garden Job and The Lady In The Van.

  • Tessa Peake-Jones: An interview with John Hannam

    During the final ten days before the lockdown, I’d been lucky enough to have pre-arranged five interviews. It was in Guildford on a very wet and miserable March day. Would she be like Raquel in Only Fools And Horses or Mrs Maguire in Grantchester?

  • Celia Imrie: An Interview with John Hannam

    John caught up with the star of stage and screen, who talks of recent film projects and fond memories of when the Island was her home.

  • Fred Dinenage: An Interview with John Hannam

    Famous radio DJ Annie Nightingale has helped numerous popstars enhance their careers by playing their music.

  • Dame Judi Dench meets John Hannam

    On July 7th, completely out of the blue, I received an unexpected email from a guy called Neil Chandler, the venue and artistic director of the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, which was re-opening following a £42 million redevelopment.

  • Call the Midwife's Helen George meets John Hannam

    Helen George has millions of fans as Trixie Franklin in hit television series, Call The Midwife. She's just been seen in the show's Christmas Special and is all set to appear later this year in the ninth series.

  • Marti Pellow: An Interview with John Hannam

    Back on Sunday, February 17th 1991, I had the thrill of having the Beverley Sisters live on IW Radio's John Hannam Meets. At the end of their slot, I asked them to choose a record by their favourite current singer. In total harmony, they all said Marti Pellow and predicted a long and successful career for him. At that time he was the lead singer of Wet Wet Wet. How right they were.

  • Sir Ian McKellen: An Interview with John Hannam

    There are some years you just never want to end. In my case, it was 2019. I became the grandfather of twin boys, was privileged to attend a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and had interviewed Dame Judi Dench live on stage, in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London. That honour led me directly to my last major interview of the year — Sir Ian McKellen.

  • John 'Boycie' Challis chats to Beacon Magazine's John Hannam

    On a cold January day I headed for Ludlow to meet up with Boycie, that notorious second-hand car dealer from Only Fools and Horses.

Home and Gardens

  • Beautiful Berried Treasure

    A selection of berried shrubs will bring colour to your garden during the dreariest time of year, writes Flo Whitaker

  • Spindles, Skewers and Toothpicks: The Euonymus genus

    The euonymus genus contains over 150 varieties in the form of shrubs and trees, so there should be one type available to brighten every garden throughout the year.

  • Wonderful Workspaces: Setting up a Home Office

    In today’s climate, home offices have never been more desirable. We've got this advice for designing your own stylish workspace

  • Blaze Away! A Look at Fiery Acers

    Versatile and long-lived, no plants give better fiery autumnal colours than acers.

  • GARDENING: Winter Greens

    It’s all go on the veg patch this month. Sow hardy winter greens and plant onions for a tasty crop next year.

  • Dressing Up: Create the perfect window display for your home

    The right window dressing can transform the look and feel of a room without the need for a complete interior revamp. Take inspiration from the latest trends to redesign your window space,

  • Queen of the Blues: Agapanthus in Late Summer

    Coming in every shade from darkest inky purple to purest white, no summer garden is complete without the extraordinary blooms of Agapanthus.

  • The Dirt on Hedges

    Hedging is an important feature in many domestic and agricultural settings, designating boundary, providing habitat for wildlife and privacy for humans, and actually being a thing of beauty. Peter Erridge tells us more

  • Bring the Outdoors In

    Add plenty of extra space to your home, with the addition of a light-filled garden room, conservatory or orangerie.

  • Caring for Houseplants

    Were you gifted a houseplant at Christmas? Wondering what to do with it now? Hippeastrum (amaryllis) are extraordinary plants. Their huge bulbs can develop flowering spikes 60cms tall within six weeks. They are often sold as a kit, complete with flowerpot and compost.

  • Your Guide to Maximising Your Sale

    Steaming coffee and the aroma of freshly baked bread does not guarantee a sale, considering that the majority of buyers will view several properties, every little bit counts to help your's fall top of the shortlist.

  • Seed sowing season begins

    Garden centres are gearing up for the great seed-sowing season, but there are so many different types of seeds to choose from. What to buy? Flo Whitaker explains...


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