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Beacon Magazine

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Food and Drink

  • Recipe: Lemon and Five Spice Chicken for Spring Barbecues

    This mouth-watering barbecue recipe is perfect for spring in the garden!

  • Recipe: Easter Bread

    This sweet Easter Bread is a traditional recipe baked in Italy and Greece, which tastes similar to brioche.

  • Recipe: Cranberry and Orange Hot Cross Buns

    Arguably one of the best things about the Easter season is enjoying warm hot cross buns, slathered in butter. So we've brought you a tasty recipe for cranberry and orange flavoured buns to bake at home. After all, we've all become pretty good at baking from scratch over the past year!

  • Recipe: Easy French Toast and Fresh Berries

    There’s nothing like a tasty breakfast to start your day off well — and this French toast with fresh berries is easier to throw together than you might think.

  • RECIPE: Pine Nut Cornbread. PLUS Win a Cookbook

    Author of the new Plant Based Cookbook, Brad Roe, shares his delicious recipe for Pine Nut Cornbread with Sweet Potato Puree, Sundried Tomato Cream and Crispy Pak Choi.

  • RECIPE: Lunchbox Lasagnes

    Schools are now open, so we've brought you one of our favourite lunchbox recipes, enjoyed by kids and grown ups — simple Lunchbox Lasagnes!

  • RECIPE: Pork and Cranberry Sausage Rolls

    When it's cold and wet outside, we love to brighten a day stuck indoors with a few home comforts. How about these home-made Pork and Cranberry Sausage Rolls, served fresh from the oven.

  • American Pancakes with Bacon, Syrup and Fried Banana

    Traditional pancakes with lemon and sugar are always a winner, but what about something a little different this year? We love thick, fluffy pancakes with fried banana and bacon, drizzled in maple syrup. Sounds so wrong, but we think it's so right!

  • Bake Your Own Fortune Cookies to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

    February 12th marks the beginning of the Chinese year of the Ox! Why not celebrate with your family at home, by making and baking your own Fortune Cookies. After all, we could all do with a little luck in 2021!

  • RECIPE: Lemon Fairy Cakes

    These pretty cupcakes have a delicate lemon flavoured sponge with strawberry buttercream icing. They’re ideal for the kids to enjoy at home while the lockdown continues!

  • Recipe for Toasted S'mores Martini

    It's Friday — and while the pubs and restaurants might be shut, we won't be deterred from making the best of it. How about sticking some music on and becoming a mixologist for the evening. We recommend this recipe for Toasted S'mores Martini.

  • Haggis, Neeps and Tatty Cakes with Crispy Kale and Poached Duck Egg

    What better way to celebrate Burns Night on Monday 25th January than serving this tasty twist on the traditional Scottish supper.

  • RECIPE: Chocolate Mug Cake

    Fancy something sweet to eat now the Christmas supply is long gone? There’s no need to wait until your next essential shopping trip, you can make this quick and easy Chocolate Mug Cake with ingredients likely to be in your cupboard already.

  • Grilled Chicken Buddha Bowl

    One mouthwatering meal which is guaranteed to give you your five a day is a Buddha Bowl. You can make these with anything you like really — the more colourful the better! But here we're making a healthy and flavoursome grilled chicken and rice Buddha Bowl, packed with fruits and vegetables.

  • RECIPES: Herbs for Health

    Herbs are a great natural way to help beat stress, boost the immune system and get your skin glowing as local herbalist Sarah Hillyer explains.

  • RECIPE: Chinese Steamed Buns or Bao Buns

    Chinese Steamed Buns or Bao Buns take party food to a new level this New Year. And they’re surprisingly easy to make from scratch.

  • Recipe: Leftover Christmas Pie

    Don't throw out the leftovers from your Christmas dinner — use them to create this delicious pie.

  • Christmas Gingerbread House

    Create your own winter wonderland with this gingerbread house recipe. It makes plenty of dough for a medium sized house and lots of trees. You can keep the decorations elegant and simple or go rather over the top if you wish, like I did! Whatever you do, it’s lots of fun for the whole family to get involved with over Christmas.

  • Make Your Own Mulled Wine

    Nothing beats a warm mug of Mulled Wine on a cold winter’s day. And enjoying your own home-made batch is even better!

  • 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.


John Hannam Meets

  • John Hannam meets Bill Wyman

    Fifty one years after I first saw Bill Wyman appearing at a Rolling Stones concert at Ryde Pavilion, I finally managed to meet him.

  • When John Hannam Did the Corrie Tour

    Back in 2001 I took an exciting 21 hour day trip to Weatherfield. I was expecting to undertake a couple of interviews with two of Coronation Street’s lesser known characters. Thankfully, it didn’t go to plan. Once the two interviews were completed and the press office girls had left, I was told to sit tight for a few minutes and see who might come in. Over the next hour, six of the most famous faces in Britain came in and were all eager to chat.

  • A Day to Remember with Sheridan Smith

    Saturday June 30th, 2012, was rather special in my 47 year career as a showbiz writer and broadcaster. I still call it my Sheridan Smith day.

  • A Day to Remember with Barbara Windsor

    Back in 1988, John Hannam interviewed Barbara Windsor – and this was long before Albert Square.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Property Planning for Retirement

    Property, equity and retirement can be a complex topic, so we asked Peter d’Aguilar to shed a little light on some of the options currently available

  • What the Average UK House Price Could Get You on the Island (and Beyond)

    In the UK right now the average house price is estimated at just over £245,000 (as of February 2021). But that figure obviously varies from region to region. So if you're a first-time buyer or looking to move to pastures new, which areas should you be looking at to get the best value for your money?

  • Now's the Perfect Time to Plant Raspberries

    Nothing says ‘summer’ more than home-picked fruit. Raspberries are easy to grow — and now’s the perfect time to plant them, writes Flo Whitaker.

  • Plant Your Own Windowsill Garlic

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

  • Hanging Out With Holly

    There’s a lot more to holly than spiky green leaves and a few red berries. Peter Erridge explains all things historical and prickly.

  • Making Your Home Naturally Cosy

    January doesn’t have to be gloomy after the Christmas decorations come down, it can be the ideal time to revamp the home as Adele Trathan explains.

  • 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.

  • Beautiful Berried Treasure

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

  • Watt The Heck: Light Up Your Festive Season

    As the first frosts of winter bring a chill to the darkness, Robert Veitch takes a look at some ways to bring a little light into your life this season

  • 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...


Animals

  • Blooming Times - Feed The Birds

    Gardening to help sustain our garden birds isn’t just a philanthropic gesture. It’s immensely beneficial to the health and biodiversity of your garden - and also to the wider environment, writes Flo Whitaker

  • Ten Ways to Help Hedgehogs

    To celebrate its 10th birthday, nationwide campaign, Hedgehog Street, is asking members of the public to do 10 things to help hedgehogs throughout 2021. The campaign launched by wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) aims to encourage people to make their gardens more hedgehog friendly, in order to help stop the ongoing decline of Britain’s favourite mammal.

  • The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

    The UK’s biggest citizen science project has been recording the winners and losers in the garden bird world for over four decades with the help of half a million people, and now the RSPB is counting on Island residents to join in too.

  • Hedgehogs on roads: new review assesses problems and solutions

    A new review outlining the impact of road mortality on native European hedgehogs has been published in the online scientific journal Animals.

  • Hunker Down And Hibernate This Autumn

    Colder weather and longer nights make Adele Trathan long to cosy up at home and shut the world away. Some animals don’t have quite the same luxury and must hibernate during winter. Adele suggests some ways we can help these creatures survive, to emerge again in the spring

  • Critically endangered eel found in Wightlink’s Lymington oyster nursery

    ​​​​​​​Wightlink’s oyster nurseries are already proving a haven for rare marine wildlife.

  • Wildlife charity launches Living with Mammals survey this autumn

    Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is, for the first time, running its Living with Mammals survey during autumn, from Monday 31st August until Sunday 29th November.

  • Natural Living: A Flock of Long-Tailed Tits

    A flock of wheeling long-tailed tits capture this author's imagination as she takes a stroll in the countryside

  • Natural Living: The Sparrowhawk on the Isle of Wight

    Sparrowhawks are now fairly common throughout the country and more of us can enjoy the breathtaking sight of these spectacular, small birds of prey.

  • It's a Dog's Life: Teddy in Lockdown

    Teddy may be starting to look like a Wookiee on a bad hair day, but it hasn’t stopped him from staying positive during lockdown. His human interpreter writes his account of life at home and the reality of spending more time with ‘Them Indoors’.

  • Natural Living: Hidden Lives of the County

    What may seem to us to be natural waste, could be an invaluable asset for a whole range of garden species and benefit the natural environment.

  • It's A Dog's Life: Teddy's Haircut

    Things seem to be heading back to a sense of normal for ‘Them Indoors’, but there’s only one thing on Teddy’s mind: getting a decent haircut


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